The relevance of autonomous ethics in the making of an African Christian ethic: An exploration of the theology of Benezet Bujo and "Veritatis Splendor's" critique of moral autonomy

Wilson Muoha Maina, Fordham University

Abstract

This dissertation focuses on the theological work of Bénézet Bujo. Bujo develops his theology in the context of a dialogue between African traditional religion(s) and the Roman Catholic moral theology tradition. Bujo's ethic is viewed in the natural moral law tradition and its implications for an African context. I have evaluated Bujo as a theologian coming after the renewal of moral theology after the Second Vatican Council. Bujo's use of Sacred Scripture, his understanding of the role of history in theology, and the natural law tradition makes him fit in the renewal pattern of moral theology. His understanding of the natural moral law tradition, in this dissertation, is seen to have led Bujo to the consideration of the relevance of autonomous and faith ethics debates in an African context. ^ Chapter one shows that the theology of Bujo is concerned with an African historical context. Bujo's African theology is viewed as realized in an African historical context. Chapter two places the work of Bujo in the context of renewal of moral theology in the Roman Catholic Church. Various understanding of the natural law are evaluated as well as Bujo's understanding and criticism of the natural moral law. ^ Chapter three shows that an African ethic is communitarian. However, Bujo reconciles the community and individual dimensions in an African ethic. Chapter three also evaluates Bujo's use of the autonomous ethics to show the communicable nature of an African ethic. In the debates between autonomous and faith ethics, Bujo is viewed as favoring the moral autonomy side of the debate to show the reasonableness of ethics, and particularly an African ethic. ^ Chapter four makes an analysis of the encyclical Veritatis Splendor by Pope John II. The encyclical is understood in the context of responses to moral theology after Vatican II. Various theologians who responded to the encyclical are also considered in chapter four. Finally, chapter five concludes the dissertation with a review of the main points in the theology of Bujo and their implications in an African social context. ^

Subject Area

Religion, History of|History, African|Theology

Recommended Citation

Maina, Wilson Muoha, "The relevance of autonomous ethics in the making of an African Christian ethic: An exploration of the theology of Benezet Bujo and "Veritatis Splendor's" critique of moral autonomy" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3169387.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3169387

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