Studies in Christian Ethics 18 (3):125-140 (2005)

The essay explains why, for Christians, responsible acting and living means responding to Christ and neighbour, and not to a `responsible self'. The history of the concept, `responsibility', is traced from its origin in Roman juridical language, by way of its being theologised in medieval times, up to the peculiar moral slant it acquired in modernity. The author challenges the mainstream understanding of `responsibility as accountability' by demonstrating that it rests on a theological mistake which ultimately invites moral self-justification. This is demonstrated by critically contrasting H. R. Niebuhr's `responsible self' with Bonhoeffer's account of' responsible action'
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DOI 10.1177/0953946805058804
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