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The Ethics of Human Rights
Contested Doctrinal and Moral Issues
In The Ethics of Human Rights, Esther Reed constructs a Christian theology of “right,” “rights” and “natural rights” and does so in constant awareness of and conversation with the public and political implications of such a theology. Reed’s use of Genesis 9:1-17, God's covenant with Noah, enables her critical Christian engagement with issue of right and her application of this Christian theology of rights to the contemporary moral dilemmas of animal rights, the environment, and democracy.
1. The Question of Rights
2. On the Relation between Divine Law and Human Law
3. Revelation and Christ the Measure of "Natural" Rights
4. Human Rights and a Tropological Reading of Genesis 9: 1-17
5. God's Command to "Multiply" and the Right to Reproduce
6. Animal Rights and the Responsibilities of "Dominion"
7. War, Democracy, and the Retreat from Human Rights
"Esther Reed's subtle re-conceiving and restructuring of rights, based in the divine command theology of Bonhoeffer, Barth, Hooker, and the Noachic covenant, overcomes the standoff between liberal tradition and MacIntyrean reaction. The rights God commands give normative transcultural content to our duty to defend the rights of victims of injustice."
—Glen Harold Stassen, Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary
Esther Reed brings together her reading of the Bible and her reading of the contemporary world to make the case that the Protestant churches should give their wholehearted support to the human rights movement. At the same time, she warns against the hi-jacking of the human rights agenda by the wealthy and the powerful. This is a powerfully argued, creative and persuasive book.
—Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey and Adjunct Professor of Theology and Public Life at Liverpool Hope University
"Reed's text makes a significant contribution to the theological discussion regarding theology, theological ethics, and human rights."
—Nancy J. Duff, Princeton Theological Seminary, Studies in Christian Ethics (2010, 23:4)
Esther D. Reed is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Exeter, and the author of The Future of Christian Social Ethics (2004), The Genesis of Ethics (2002), and Theological Reading of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (1996).