Authority and Justification in Theological Ethics: A Study in I Corinthians 7

Journal of Religious Ethics 11 (1):62-74 (1983)
Moral philosophers have frequently criticized theological ethics for its dependence upon divine authority and its consequent lack of autonomy. To test their perception of religious ethics and mentality, this paper examines the ways in which Paul justifies his ethical advice in I Corinthians 7. Analysis of his reasoning reveals that Paul invokes his own authority as well as the Lord's rulings and the commands of God. These are, however, related in ways which encourage freedom of interpretation and application. In this text at least, theological ethics cannot be reduced to simple obedience to religious authority
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