John Calvin and Virtue Ethics: Augustinian and Aristotelian Themes

Journal of Religious Ethics 48 (3):519-556 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Many scholars have argued that the Protestant Reformation generally departed from virtue ethics, and this claim is often accepted by Protestant ethicists. This essay argues against such discontinuity by demonstrating John Calvin’s reception of ethical concepts from Augustine and Aristotle. Calvin drew on Augustine’s concept of eudaimonia and many aspects of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics , including concepts of choice, habit, virtue as a mean, and the specific virtues of justice and prudence. Calvin also evaluated the problem of pagan virtue in light of traditional Augustinian texts discussed in the medieval period. He interpreted the Decalogue as teaching virtue, including the cardinal virtues of justice and temperance. Calvin was not the harbinger of an entirely new ethical paradigm, but rather a participant in the mainstream of Christian thinkers who maintained a dual interest in Aristotelian and Augustinian eudaimonist virtue ethics.

Similar books and articles

John Calvin, the Man and His Ethics.James Gutmann - 1932 - Philosophical Review 41:98.
"Calvin and Hobbes": A Critique of Society's Values.Alisa White Coleman - 2000 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 15 (1):17-28.
Virtue Ethics and Environs.James Griffin - 1998 - Social Philosophy and Policy 15 (1):56.


Added to PP

406 (#27,922)

6 months
23 (#50,666)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David S. Sytsma
Tokyo Christian University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations