Casuistry, the practice of resolving moral problems by applying a logical framework, has had a much larger historical presence before and since it was given a name in the Renaissance. The contributors to this volume examine a series of case studies to explain how different cultures and religions, past and present, have wrestled with morality's exceptions and margins and the norms with which they break. For example, to what extent have the Islamic and Judaic traditions allowed smoking tobacco or gambling? How did the Spanish colonization of America generate formal justifications for what it claimed? Where were the lines of transgression around food, money-lending, and sex in Ancient Greece and Rome? How have different systems dealt with suicide?
Casuistry lives at the heart of such questions, in the tension between norms and exceptions, between what seems forbidden but is not. A Historical Approach to Casuistry does not only examine this tension, but re-frames casuistry as a global phenomenon that has informed ethical and religious traditions for millennia, and that continues to influence our lives today.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 376
Weight: 703 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Ginzburg has assembled some of the world's leading thinkers to explore casuistry as a fundamental and surprisingly neglected approach to intractable dilemmas and paradoxes throughout history. Traversing disciplines and centuries, this volume will change the way we think and the way we think about thinking. * Matthew C. Mirow, Professor of Law, Florida International University, USA *
As these wide-ranging essays demonstrate, casuistry is hardly so simple as normally believed, but a style of thought in which norms and exceptions are mutually constitutive, dialogically and dialectically interrelated. Time after time, we observe how established authorities in one domain or another (law, medicine, theology; Europe, Asia, the Americas) responded to deviations from what they prescribed and expected, struggling to defuse the challenge these anomalies present by construing them -- often with extraordinary ingenuity -- as exceptions that prove, rather than threaten the rule. Each chapter makes for fascinating reading, as does the volume as a whole. * Bruce Lincoln, Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History of Religions, University of Chicago, USA *