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Moral Traditions and Religious Ethics: A Comparative Enquiry

James Turner Johnson
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 25, No. 3, 25th Anniversary Supplement (1997), pp. 77-101
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40015240
Page Count: 25
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Moral Traditions and Religious Ethics: A Comparative Enquiry
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Abstract

This essay explores the convergence of theoretical or foundational, historical, and comparative concerns in religious ethics through the examination of two religiously informed traditions on statecraft, that shaped by Augustine's idea of the civitas dei and that shaped by classical Islamic juristic thought on the dar alislam. Three issues are examined for each tradition: the concept of normative political order, the nature of justified use of force, and the implications of their rival claims to universality. The essay shows how the normative logic and implications of each tradition can be properly understood only by attention to its historical development. It further argues that possibilities for conversation between these traditions, difficult or even nonexistent in terms of the original statements of the Augustinian and juristic ideals, may be identified by attention to the historical working out of these ideals in the practice of statecraft within the two cultures.

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