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Comparative Religious Ethics

  1. Aaron Stalnaker

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee243

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Stalnaker, A. 2013. Comparative Religious Ethics. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


While comparative assessment of the ethics of different religious groups is an ancient and widespread pursuit, the modern field of comparative religious ethics arguably dates from the founding of the Journal of Religious Ethics in 1973. While there have been a variety of motivations for the attempt to study “religious ethics” rather than or in addition to “Christian ethics,” one animating idea has been the growing recognition that people from numerous religious groups propound sophisticated and powerful moral visions, which possess intriguing similarities and differences, and which are not easily reducible to a common denominator. Moreover, the variety and particular characteristics of such visions are historically and politically significant in the modern era of increasingly pervasive globalization. Indeed, comparative religious ethics may be desperately needed in our contemporary context of global interdependence, misunderstanding, and mutual mistrust. There are thus ample grounds, both social and purely intellectual, to suggest that this ethical variety needs to be engaged directly via rigorous comparison (see Religion and Global Ethics).


  • comparative philosophy;
  • ethics;
  • religion