Religious and Ethical Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century.
Religious and Ethical Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Paul O. Myhre. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2013. Pp. 282. $29.95.
Myhre has produced a strong volume of essays for undergraduates covering contemporary issues in ethics. With a conversational style, the authors introduce students to key thinkers and theories in the current use of technology, medical ethics, war and peace, food ethics, political ethics, environmental ethics, and economic ethics. The format reinforces the style: a preface announces each chapter's goals, and questions for reflection and discussion are inserted in the middle and at the end of each chapter. The questions, however, mainly ask students to reflect on their own experiences, thus possibly drawing them away from wrestling with and comprehending the text.
The collection succeeds where M. has found teachers/scholars who know how to communicate complex ideas to students through an engaging use of examples. Highlights include Maureen O'Connell's opening essay, which is a clear and cogent introduction to religious ethics; James Caccamo's chapter on the ethics of digital communication technologies; Julie Hanlon Rubio's balanced, but challenging, piece on the ethics of food consumption; and the chapters on access to health care and AIDS by Aana Marie Vigen and Kimberly Vrundy, respectively.
The collection is ideal for a course covering contemporary ethical issues, or, as a late-semester resource for a course in foundational religious ethics. As with many volumes designed to take up a variety of applied topics in ethics, the chapters here are often more descriptive than theological or prescriptive, as they assume students are conversant with concepts in religious ethics. As a result, students will benefit most from the text after studying the various schools of ethical method. While the book's title indicates that this is a text in religious and ethical perspectives, the preponderance of attention is given to Christian thinkers and concepts. However, some chapters contain sufficient treatment of non-Christian thought to engage students in the rudiments of interreligious ethics. Faculty who seek an extended treatment of how various religious traditions address contemporary ethical issues will need to look elsewhere.
Daniel J. Daly
Saint Anselm College, NH
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|Title Annotation:||Shorter Notices|
|Author:||Daly, Daniel J.|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Aug 31, 2014|
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