posted September 26, 2008

David Cunningham Writes Text on Christian Ethics

A new book by Dr. David Cunningham of the Hope College faculty explores Christian ethics in the context of contemporary life.

Cunningham, who is director of the college's CrossRoads Project and a professor of religion at Hope, has written the book "Christian Ethics:  The End of the Law," published earlier this year by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group of London and New York.

The book is based on the premise that the historical and cultural impact of Christianity have been so great that understanding its beliefs, practices and worldviews is crucial to making sense of the world.  Recognizing that contemporary students may have had varying degrees of exposure to the biblical and theological sources traditionally referenced in studying the topic, Cunningham draws on contemporary examples - from film, literature and music as well as everyday life - to introduce students to the field, relating each to the biblical context.

Topics covered include the nature of human action, the narratives and discourse of ethics, and the development of a virtue ethics approach in its Christian context.  He also tackles key contemporary issues in Christian ethics such as the ethics of business and economics, politics, the environment, medicine and sex.

The book's subtitle is taken from Romans 10:4:  "For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who has faith may be justified."

Esther D. Reed, who is an associate professor of theological ethics at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, has called the book "One of the best introductions to Christian ethics available.  An essential tool for all students who want to explore the connections between Christian understanding of God, worship, community life, the reading of Scripture, and moral formation."

Cunningham has published widely in the areas of Christian theology and ethics. His previous books include "Reading Is Believing: The Christian Faith through Literature and Film," "Faithful Persuasion: In Aid of a Rhetoric of Christian Theology" and "These Three Are One: The Practice of Trinitarian Theology." "Reading Is Believing" received a Gold Award for Religion in ForeWord Magazine's 2002 Book Awards.

He is also the author of the book "Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Literary Meditations on Suffering, Death, and New Life," a series of meditations for those experiencing sorrow and change.

Cunningham has been a member of the Hope faculty since 2003. He was previously on the faculty of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and had also taught at the University of St. Thomas and at AustinCollege, and during 2002-03 held an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the University of Freiburg in Germany. He holds a bachelor's degree in communication studies from NorthwesternUniversity; a bachelor's and master's degree in theology and religious studies from the University of Cambridge in England; and a doctorate in religion from Duke University.