Jean Porter offers an important contribution to natural law ethical theory. It is typical of present-day discussions of natural law to treat Aquinas as representative of the entire medieval scholastic tradition. While by no means neglecting Aquinas, Porter considers a wide range of natural law thinkers, from the mid-twelth century to the end of the thirteenth. Aquinas is thus placed in context rather than being treated as a solitary mountain peak. Though her book, at heart, is an essay in intellectual history, Professor Porter is by no means an antiquarian; sprinkled throughout her discussion are imaginative suggestions as to how the medieval scholastic version of the natural law tradition can be appropriated in our own day. The upshot of this is twofold: on the one hand, natural law theorizing is reclaimed for Christian theology; and on the other hand, human nature itself is restored to Christian ethics. Jean Porter is professor of Christian Ethics and moral theology at the University of Notre Dame.
Though the concept of natural law took center stage during the Middle Ages, the theological aspects of this august intellectual tradition have been largely forgotten by the modern church. In this book ethicist Jean Porter shows the continuing significance of the natural law tradition for Christian ethics. Based on a careful analysis of natural law as it emerged in the medieval period, Porter's work explores several important scholastic theologians and canonists whose writings are not only worthy of study in their own right but also make important contributions to moral reflection today.