"Clairmont has given us a significant contribution to comparative ethics and comparative theology more broadly. Best of all, Clairmont reflects in depth on the current discussion concerning the hermeneutics of comparison. I strongly recommend this book."
—Rev. James L. Fredericks
, Ph.D. Loyola Marymount University
"Over the past several years, comparative religious ethics has emerged as a centrally important interdisciplinary line of research, crossing the boundaries among religious studies, history, anthropology, and ethics. David Clairmont's book offers a strikingly original contribution to this emerging field."
—Jean Porter, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Notre Dame
"David Clairmont is one of a new generation of scholars who possess the requisite philological and philosophical skills to undertake serious comparative study of thinkers from radically different traditions. This work shows what we have been missing up to now. It offers meticulous comparisons between them on issues such as sacramental and meditative practices, understandings of the cultivation of virtue, and the nature and purpose of religious and ethical languages, and he has acute and thought-provoking things to say on all of them. This book is part of a new era in religious ethics."
—Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia
From the Back Cover
Moral Struggle and Religious Ethics
examines the need that drives us from the comforts of our own religious traditions to learn about those that are unknown and even irreconcilably different. It takes as its theme a problem common throughout religions: that religious people do not always behave morally.
Clairmont presents a fresh approach in his discussion of the challenges involved in living a moral life by offering an in-depth reading of the work of the two important religious figures: Bonaventure, a 13th century Roman Catholic priest and teacher in the Franciscan order, and Buddhaghosa, a 5th-century Theravada Buddhist monk. These two men offer crucial insights into the development of moral thinking in Christianity and Buddhism respectively. Clairmont's comparison is centered on the struggle of both men to make sense of human moral weakness and their moral reflections on appropriate interaction with the world around them.
In focusing on the shared human problem of moral failure, Clairmont demonstrates that we are only able to fully understand a religious tradition through open-minded and respectful comparison to others. At a time over-shadowed by the potential of religious violence, it demonstrates that inter-religious conversation serves to advance the well-being of the human community.