With its focus on the traditions and communities that form us
over the course of a lifetime, virtue ethics has richly expanded
our understanding of what the Christian life can look like. Yet its
emphasis on human virtues and habits of mind and life seems
inconsistent with the Reformed tradition's insistence that sin lies
at the heart of the human condition. For this reason, virtue ethics
seems out of place in Reformed theology, especially in the company
of the Reformed tradition's greatest twentieth-century theologian,
In this new addition to the Columbia Series in Reformed
Theology, Kirk Nolan argues that Barth's theology actually proves
virtue ethics can be compatible with the Reformed tradition. Rather
than see virtue as an inevitable and natural process of growth,
Barth helps us understand that development in the Christian life
comes through a process of repetition and renewal, and that all
virtue comes solely as a gift from God. Nolan establishes an
important bridge between Reformed moral teaching and the tradition
of virtue ethics.
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