CONSENT, CONVERSION, AND MORAL FORMATION: Stoic Elements in Jonathan Edwards's Ethics
Article first published online: 17 NOV 2011
© 2011 Journal of Religious Ethics, Inc.
Journal of Religious Ethics
Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 623–650, December 2011
How to Cite
Cochran, E. A. (2011), CONSENT, CONVERSION, AND MORAL FORMATION: Stoic Elements in Jonathan Edwards's Ethics. Journal of Religious Ethics, 39: 623–650. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2011.00500.x
- Issue published online: 17 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 17 NOV 2011
- Jonathan Edwards;
The contemporary revival of virtue ethics has focused primarily on retrieving central moral commitments of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and the Neoplatonist traditions. Christian virtue ethicists would do well to expand this retrieval further to include the writings of the Roman Stoics. This essay argues that the ethics of Jonathan Edwards exemplifies major Stoic themes and explores three noteworthy points of intersection between Stoic ethics and Edwards's thought: a conception of virtue as consent to a benevolent providence, the identification of virtue as a singular and transformative good, and an account of moral formation as simultaneously self-directed and received. Common ground between Edwards and the Stoics illustrates the value of recognizing Stoic moral thought as a philosophical framework that can enhance and undergird Christian ethicists' understandings of moral development and the nature of virtue.