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Humility, Pride, and Christian Virtue Theory$
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Kent Dunnington

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198818397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198818397.001.0001

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Humility and its Discontents

Humility and its Discontents

(p.117) 6 Humility and its Discontents
Humility, Pride, and Christian Virtue Theory

Kent Dunnington

Oxford University Press

The most powerful critique of a radical Christian view of humility is the Humean critique, according to which proper pride is an essential aspect of moral formation and consistent moral action over time. The critique has been taken up with particular force by contemporary feminist and womanist theologians who implicate Christian humility in the history of patriarchal subjugation of women. This chapter addresses the feminist critique. It accepts much of the critique, but shows how the rejection of radical Christian humility does not follow from the critique. What follows, instead, is that radical Christian humility cannot be mandated as normative for members of subjected groups, or for anyone for that matter. Hume is right that proper pride is essential to moral formation, but he is wrong that proper pride is essential for consistent moral action over time. Thus radical Christian humility may be sought voluntarily by one who would like to conform more perfectly to the holiness of Jesus.

Keywords:   humility, Hume, feminism, womanism, patriarchal, self, pride, moral formation, oppression, subjugation

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