Bonhoeffer's beginning: Universal entry, the problem of morality, and the ethics of new beginning /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:DeCort, Andrew, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (356 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: William Schweiker Committee members: Patchen Markell; Charles T. Mathewes.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-05(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation investigates the ethics of making new beginnings after devastation and moral rupture in the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
In Chapter 1, I argue that a new beginning must be made in the face of the injustices and horrors that devastate human life in order to sustain the fundamental convictions that (i) it is good to exist, (ii) life with others in the world should be loved, and (iii) this moral conviction should extend universally without exclusion of others as our fundamental moral orientation to reality.
But the making of a new beginning for morality raises fundamental ethical problems. First, are human creatures in our morally and historically ruptured condition capable of making a new beginning? Second, is there any normative justification for making such a beginning that would differentiate it from arbitrary self-assertion or violence? Finally, are there any moral practices that can embody this new beginning for human life now in our ruptured world?
In Chapter 2, I reconstruct the ethics of new beginnings in the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, Jonathan Glover, and Jonathan Lear as the horizon for my interpretation of Bonhoeffer's ethics. I argue that their respective positions are inadequate to redeem these moral principles and thus fail to provide a new beginning capable of sustaining moral conviction and hope in the face of devastating moral rupture.
In Chapters 3--5, I systematically reconstruct Bonhoeffer's ethics of new beginnings. In these chapters, I explicate Bonhoeffer's interpretation of (i) the human (in)capacity to make a new beginning, (ii) the theological justification and guidance for making new beginnings, and (iii) six practices of new beginning for finite creatures following after God's beginning in our devastated world.
In the Conclusion, I argue that Bonhoeffer's ethics of new beginning sustains and energizes the fundamental convictions that it is good to exist and that worldly life with all others should be loved as our overall moral orientation to reality. The dissertation concludes by discussing the problem for theological ethics of God's perceived absence and the challenging hope for new beginnings now and eschatologically for human life in Bonhoeffer's thought.