The Sacredness of Human Life: Why an Ancient Biblical Vision Is the Key to the World’s Future

David P. Gushee. Wm. B. Eerdmans, $35 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8028-4420-0
Gushee, professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University, attempts to rescue the phrase “sacredness of life” from its narrow application by pro-life activists. After offering a carefully constructed Christian definition of sacredness of life, Gushee situates this ethic as arising directly from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. The theology he espouses is evangelical but moderate. Situated thus, he marches through Christian history to show how this ethic has been supported or undermined and lived or tossed aside. His chapters on Nietzsche and Nazism present them as prime examples of the ultimate rejection of the sacredness of human life and the costs of doing so. The final quarter of the book focuses on contemporary implications of this ethic, especially abortion, the death penalty, women’s rights, and ecological concerns. Christians, Gushee concludes, should welcome non-Christian allies in these ethical battles. The lengthy historical excursus dilutes the urgency of his message, but provides a sense of the complexity of the issue. The accumulation of details sometimes derails analysis and application, but this work is a good entry into a broader Christian ethic of the sacredness of life. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 478 pages - 978-1-4674-3783-7
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