There are two sections in this list:

  • Key Books
  • Further reading about ethics

Some Key Books

I have divided the books into 'secular' and 'religious' ethics, the distinction refering to the perspective of the author. All the books include the basic theories of ethics.

Ethics from a Secular Perspective

Blackburn, Simon. Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, OUP, 2001.
An excellent short introduction to ethics which contains a criticism of religious ethics which needs to be taken seriously by religious people.

Grayling, A C. What is Good?: The Search for the Best Way to Live. London, Phoenix, 2007.
A more detailed book than Simon Blackburn's and also contains an important criticism of religious ethics.

Warburton, Nigel. Philosophy the Basics. London, Routledge, 2004. See Chapter 2.
The chapter considers ethics from a philosophical viewpoint and presents a very short summary of the different major ethical theories.

Ethics from a Religious Perspective

Messer, Neil. SCM Study Guide to Christian Ethics. London, SCM Press, 2006.
An excellent general book about Christian ethics.

Jones, Richard G. Groundwork of Christian Ethics. Peterborough, Epworth Press, 1984.
A good alternative to Messer (above).

Vardy, Peter & Grosch, Paul. The Puzzle of Ethics. London, Fount, 1999.
From a Roman Catholic perspective and contains material not in either Messer or Jones.

Macquarrie, John & Childress, James, eds. A New Dictionary of Christian Ethics. London, SCM, 1986.
A reference book which may be starting point for a study on a particular topic or give clarification of issues or theories.

Further Reading about Ethics

This list could almost be endless and all include a religious perspective. Inclusion in this list does not imply a recommendation. Some of the books may be out of print but may be found in libraries or borrowed from me. There may be other editions by different publishers.

Baelz, Peter. Ethics and Belief. London, Sheldon Press, 1977.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, ed. Eberhard Bethge, trans. Neville Horton Smith. Ethics. London, SCM Press, 1955.

Cook, David. The Moral Maze: A Way of Exploring Christian Ethics. London, SPCK, 1983.
Begins with a good summary of Western society and then outlines a methodology of doing Christian ethics. Applies this to the areas of Abortion and Eutanasia.

Dunstan, G R, Ed. Duty and Discernment. London, SCM Press, 1975.

Gill, Robin. A Textbook of Christan Ethics. New Revised Edition. London, T & T Clark, 1995.
A systematic analysis of important classical and modern texts on areas of ethics including social justice, war, environment and inter-prersonal relationships.

Houlden, J L. Ethics and the New Testament. Oxford, Alden Press, 1973.

Taylor, John V. The Go-Between God. London, SCM Press, 1972 re-published 2004. Chapter 8: Exploring; The Freedom of the Spirit and the Searth for a New Ethic.
Describes the basis of Christian ethics as life in Christ and is clearly inspired by Bonhoeffer's book on Ethics.

Ward, Keith. The Divine Image: The Foundations of Christian Morality. London, SPCK, 1976.
Argues how we can understand ethics as obedience to the will of God which is not about an infantile acceptance of authority but a creative exercise of freedom and concern for human fulfilment.

Ward, Keith. What the Bible Really Teaches: A Challenge for Fundamentalists. London, SPCK, 2004. Chapter 10: 'Interpreting Biblical Teaching about the Moral Law'.
Use of the Bible in ethics including a critique of the fundamentalist approach.

© Phil Edwards, 2007