Approaching the End: A Theological Exploration of Death and by David Albert Jones

By David Albert Jones

David Albert Jones considers easy questions: how do we stay good within the face of loss of life? and while, if ever, is it valid intentionally to deliver human existence to an finish? He focuses upon the precise theological methods to demise proven by way of 4 awesome Christian thinkers: Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and Karl Rahner. Jones's target isn't basically to contribute to the historical past of theology, yet fairly, via engagement with the concept of theologians of the earlier, to mirror on a few of the sensible and existential matters that the procedure of loss of life offers for we all.

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10) It is the body that introduces temptations to sin. ‘So if the body is clay, it surely soils us and does not wash us, for it contaminates the soul with the contamination of intemperance’ (BM 3. 12). Therefore, when the soul is freed from the bonds and prison of the body, it is better able to exercise its activity. But since the life of the soul remains after death, there remains a good which is not lost by death but increased. The soul is not held back by any obstacle placed by death but is more active, because it is active in its own sphere without any association with the body, which is more of a burden than a beneWt to it (majori oneri quam usui est).

However, there is no record that any Christian in any age has advocated this practice and it is diYcult to imagine a policy more alien to the mindset of early Christianity (D. A. Jones 2004: 57–63). Williams attributed this theological reasoning to Christians in order to dismiss their objections to infanticide. This was part of a larger eVort to smooth the way for a social acceptance of child killing, if done for eugenic reasons and with the agreement of the parents. If the actual theological reasons that inspire Christians to reject infanticide are made more explicit (for example, the value of every child as made in the image of God, the example of Christ as a child and his sayings about children, the special consideration for the weak, the virtue of hospitality), then it may be possible for non-believers to see connections between these reasons and generally acknowledged secular values.

These diVerences should not be thought absolute but rather as a matter of degree. The Jewish writings of the ‘Old Covenant’ remained essential— doctrinally and liturgically—for Catholic Christians, even though, from the second century, Christians considered themselves a third people, sociologically and culturally distinct from Jews as from pagans. Similarly, the inXuence of Greek thought upon JudaeoChristian religion that is so evident in Ambrose in fact long predated the birth of Christ. The most prominent Jewish synthesizer of Jewish thought and Greek philosophy, Philo of Alexandria, was a contemporary of the apostle Paul.

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