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date: 15 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys important points of development in Christian thinking about the virtues. Christians have not been the only champions of virtue for the last two millennia. The centrality of imitating and following Christ to achieve one’s true telos has, however, put a very distinctive stamp on Christian thinking about what qualities of character count as virtues. Moral and theological virtues such as humility, compassion, hope, and love are largely absent from cultural landscapes Christians have shared with other virtue traditions. Even traits named in common with other virtue traditions take on a distinctive Christian form when situated within the Christian narrative. Despite the differences among Christians about how to think about particular virtues, or even whether the virtue tradition is the best way to think about the moral life, they agree that all stand in need of divine aid if they are to achieve Christlikeness.

Keywords: Christian, virtue, moral, theology, narrative, telos

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