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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This survey of early Christian ethics as an emerging field of study with multiple investigators, interests, methodologies, and subjects has pointed out significant developments that are shaping the field and suggested some of the directions that future study might take. As scholars launch new explorations of this old terrain, perspectives broaden, lost features or forgotten routes of interconnection are rediscovered, familiar landmarks no longer loom as large as they once did, and boundaries begin to fade. In this process, the necessity of self-conscious reflection on the ethics of studying early Christian ethics becomes manifest. The decentring of Christian theology as the orienting point for this field demands a new kind of scholarly, personal, and communal accountability on the part of its students, whatever their relationship to Christianity. In the end, the rhetoric and practice of studying early Christian ethics must themselves be ethical.

Keywords: early Christian ethics, Christian theology, Christianity, self-conscious reflection, ethical teachings

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