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Questioning the HumanToward a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century$
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Lieven Boeve, Yves De Maeseneer, and Ellen Van Stichel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257522

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.001.0001

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The Concept of Natural Law in the Postmodern Context

The Concept of Natural Law in the Postmodern Context

(p.31) Chapter 2 The Concept of Natural Law in the Postmodern Context
Questioning the Human

Henri-Jérôme Gagey

Fordham University Press

Systematic theologian Henri-Jérôme Gagey argues that the postmodern awareness of cultural plurality and the radical historicity of our moral values render any appeal to nature suspicious. Based on “In Search of a Universal Ethic: A New Look at the Natural Law” (2009), a document of the International Theological Commission, he exams to what extent to which, and the conditions under which, this concept can prove relevant in the postmodern context. Although its authors are distancing themselves from the ‘modern rationalist approach’ and its essentialist belief in human nature, Gagey formulates a twofold challenge for the document: the move away from a physicalist conception of natural law as identical with biological laws on the one hand calls for more explicit attention for the essentially social and historical character of human nature and, on the other hand, demands an approach which presents natural law thinking less as a scientific enterprise than as an initiation into wisdom.

Keywords:   Natural law, Physicalism, Historicity of morality, International Theological Commission

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