Students undertaking this unit will consider the question “What is the good life?” This question will be investigated through key Orthodox Christian theological foundations of the Trinity, the person of Christ, and Christian Anthropology, using the sources of Orthodox Christian ethics which include the Scriptures, Coptic liturgy, patristic writings and contemporary writers. Three models of ethical decision making; Deontological ethics, Utilitarianism, and Virtue ethics will be briefly covered with a close look at Virtue ethics and how this is understood in Orthodox praxis.

Unit code: DT1900A (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Identify and describe the sources of Orthodox Christian ethics.


Explain the key concepts of Orthodox Christian ethics.


Reflect and describe the ‘good life’ according to key concepts of Orthodox Christian ethics.


Identify the principles of Virtue ethics as found in Orthodox Christianity.


Discuss contemporary ethical issues in the light of key concepts of Orthodox Christian ethics.

Unit sequence

Introductory Biblical unit Introductory Theology unit


Weekly lectures and class tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Harakas, Stanley S. Toward Transfigured Life: The Theoria of Eastern Orthodox Ethics. Minneapolis: Light & Life Pub. Co., 1983. (recommended for purchase)
  • Bobrinskoy, Boris. The Mystery of the Trinity: Trinitarian Experience and Vision in the Biblical and Patristic Tradition. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1999.
  • Cavarnos, Constantine. Holiness: Man's Supreme Destiny: Four Orthodox Homilies in Which Are Discussed the Concept of Holiness, Hunger for Holiness and Striving for Holiness. 1st ed. Belmont, Mass.: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 2001.
  • Curran, Charles E. and Lisa Fullam. Virtue. Readings in Moral Theology no. 16. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2011.
  • Giannaras, Chrēstos and Norman Russell. Person and Eros. Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007.
  • Guroian, Vigen.* Incarnate Love: Essays in Orthodox Ethics*. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1987.
  • Kotva, Joseph J. *The Christian Case for Virtue Ethics. Moral Traditions & Moral Arguments. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1996.
  • LeMasters, Philip. The Goodness of God's Creation: How to Live as an Orthodox Christian (a Guide to Orthodox Ethics). Salisbury, Mass.: Regina Orthodox Press, 2008.
  • Lossky, Vladimir. In the Image and Likeness of God. Crestwood, N.Y. : St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974.
  • Staniloae, Dumitru. Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar. South Canaan, Pa.: St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 2002.
  • Woodill, Joseph. The Fellowship of Life: Virtue Ethics and Orthodox Christianity. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1998.
  • Zizioulas, Jean and Gregory Edwards. The One and the Many: Studies on God, Man, the Church, and the World Today. 1st ed. Contemporary Christian Thought Series. Alhambra, California: Sebastian Press, 2010.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 1500 words

1500 40.0

Essay 2500 words

2500 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 31 Dec, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-06-27 07:46:33 +1000