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Understanding Human Dignity$
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Christopher McCrudden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265642

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 14 June 2021

Human Dignity and the Image of God

Human Dignity and the Image of God

(p.229) 12 Human Dignity and the Image of God
Understanding Human Dignity

Janet Soskice

British Academy

In press reports, Christian (and especially Roman Catholic) positions on issues of life and death are frequently presented as merely a matter of Catholics obeying orders from Rome. In fact these positions are grounded in central Christian teachings, especially Christian teaching about the human condition (Christian anthropology), and a tradition of care for the ill, elderly, the poor, the prisoner, and the dying. The chapter sketches the Christian teaching about the human being as in the image of God, its role in the development of hospices and hospitals, and also the distinctive Augustinian and Thomistic philosophy (made more broadly popular in recent years by work such as that of Macintyre on ‘virtue ethics’) which provides a metaphysical basis for both personal and political Catholic social teaching. It will consider the advantages of ‘imago dei’ over ‘sanctity of life’ as a guiding theological notion in end of life issues, especially in keeping to the fore the integral relations between precepts relating to the beginning and the end of life and other moral directives (feeding the poor, assisting the prisoners, aiding the widows).

Keywords:   imago dei, image of God, creation, sanctity of life, Christ, Bible

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