The Catholic University of America Press

Imago Dei

Human Dignity in Ecumenical Perspective

Thomas Albert Howard, Editor

Paper 978-0-8132-2143-4 $19.95
June 2013 In Print Add to Cart
E-Book 978-0-8132-2144-1 $19.95
June 2013 In Print Add to Cart

What does it mean when we speak of human dignity? What challenges does human dignity confront in our culture today? What is the relationship between contemporary understandings of human dignity and the ancient Christian doctrine of imago Dei, the view that human beings are created in "the image and likeness of God"?

This book pursues these and related questions in the form of an ecumenical "trialogue" by leading scholars from the three major Christian traditions: John Behr from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Russell Hittinger from the Catholic, and C. Ben Mitchell from the Protestant tradition. The book is the first of its kind to foster an ecumenical conversation around teachings of imago Dei and present-day understandings of human dignity. The three chapter-essays, the editor's introduction, and the afterword by Lutheran theologian Gilbert Meilaender draw from a wide array of sources, including Scripture, patristic works, ancient creeds, medieval and Thomistic writings, papal encyclicals, Protestant confessional statements, the works of modern theologians, and more.

Imago Dei will serve as an indispensable resource for those wishing to deepen their grasp of the theological bases for Christian views of human dignity, as well as for those who believe that Christ's words "that they be one" (John 17:21) remain a theological imperative today. The combination of ethical inquiry and ecumenical collaboration makes this timely book a unique and compelling contribution to present-day Christian thought.


Thomas Albert Howard currently holds the Stephen Phillips Chair of History and is director of the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College. He is the author of numerous publications including God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide.


"It is a good moment for this volume to appear. It presents a way to go beyond the defensive posture and to articulate clearly and boldly the strengths and riches of the Christian tradition and to see these as a 'public resource,' especially for a society that has been overwhelmingly Christian in its orientation, both historically and culturally."--Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago

"What is especially new and significant is the conversation this book initiates. As the beginning of an ecumenical dialogue centered on ideas and issues related to the imago Dei and human dignity, this book provides something new, interesting, and important for our time."--David J. Bryant, professor of religious studies, Eckerd College

Product Details

Pages:144 pages

Dimensions:5.5 inches


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