Social Justice: The Ancient and Modern Traditions
This mid-level course will examine the development of theories of ethics and social justice from the ancient Hebrew tradition of Torah and the prophets, New Testament writers Luke and Matthew, and medieval natural law, to modern discussions about social, political, and economic justice. We will explore how critical social theory has been applied within the political and economic context of modern industrial societies and how biblical and later religious teachings have been used as the basis for social ethics. Questions of justice, freedom, development, individualism, and alienation will be major themes in this study of capitalism, Christianity, and Marxism. Special emphasis will be on contemporary debates about the ethics of democratic capitalism from within conservative theology and philosophy and radical liberation theology. Readings will be from the Bible, Papal encyclicals, the American Catholic bishops' letter on economics and social justice, Friedman, Wallis, Farmer, Novak, Baum, Miranda, Fromm, Pirsig, Schumacher, and N. Wolf. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. This course is also listed as SOCY 243.