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Bahá'í Ethics in Light of Scripture: Volume 1

Doctrinal Fundamentals

George Ronald, Oxford 2007, Hard Cover, 432 pages, ISBN: 978-0-85398-505?1

There is a fundamental discrepancy between man as he is and man as he could be, if only he recognized his true being and purpose. Ethics is the discipline by which man can understand how he can pass from the first condition to the second.

Ethics deals with the image of man: his freedom, moral responsibility and dignity, asking, What is human nature? What is the purpose of life? What is the highest good of human conduct and what are its sanctions?

Ethics also seeks the origin, derivation and vindication of moral values, asking, What is the ultimate standard of right or wrong? Are there universally recognized moral principles of good and evil, right and wrong? Where do they come from, how are they recognized and why should they be binding on me?

Ethics also tries to find answers to the questions, What shall I do? How should human beings live in order to become happy? What is virtue? What prompts right conduct?

Revelatory ethics – ethics as an expression of the divine will – asks about the relationships between reason and revelation, freedom and law, liberty and obedience, the virtues and divine commandments, virtues and vices and sin.

Udo Schaefer’s Bahá’í Ethics in Light of Scripture is an attempt to analyse the underlying structures and detect the interior architecture of the Bahá’í moral system and is a step towards developing a Bahá’í moral theology.Doctrinal Fundamentals, the first of two volumes, provides a historical overview of the Bahá'í Faith, a systematic survey of it doctrines and an overview of the origin and derivation of moral values. It considers the metaphysical nature of man and man’s responsibilities, looks at reason and conscience, and explores liberty and its limits. Schaefer's second volume (forthcoming) deals with concrete values – the virtues, divine commandments and principles of social ethics from a Bahá’í perspective.

 

"You are one of the few Bahá'í authors whose work is scientifically outstanding and capable of imparting historically solid and religiously systematic insights. . . I truly hope that the (religious) scientific community grants this exhaustive and weighty volume the attention which it rightfully deserves."

Professor Dr. Udo Tworuschka, University of Jena