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The Foundations of Christian Bioethics
  1. H Widdows

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    H Tristham Engelhardt Jr. Swets & Zeitlinger, 2000, 95 DF, US$39.95, pp 414. ISBN 902651557Xp

    In this book, H Tristram Engelhardt Jr outlines his interpretation of Christian bioethics. His branch of Christianity, termed “traditional Christianity”, is described as “the Christianity of the first millennium”. Authority is derived from the church fathers (whose works are continually cited) and from the church community, in accordance with “the Spirit” (this is contrasted with Western Christianity's use of scriptures and philosophical theology).

    In the first half of the book (chapters 1–4) Engelhardt describes the contemporary moral condition, characterised by moral diversity and fragmentedness. He bemoans the eroding effect of pluralism on moral values and the lack of mechanisms to distinguish between opposing value systems. He terms the present state of affairs as “liberal cosmopolitanism” and argues that the only available moral authority derives from the “principle of permission”—that is, moral authority legitimised by the autonomous choices …

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