Hristianity and Human Rights (2. History: Pre Christian, Christian, and Secular)


Instalments pay method.

Topic and structure description:

The present worldwide legal agenda of human rights is deeply grounded in a highly sophisticated critical appropriation of the Biblical tradition. The basic principles of fundamental human rights have developed out of biblical roots.

The idea of human rights brings into play the influential idea of universality, which means that they should apply to all people without exception around the globe and regardless of culture, ethnicity, caste and gender. In our globalised world even the language of human rights claims to be universal.

In this study, I would like to investigate firstly, the extent to which Christianity has contributed to the formation of modern day human rights by identifying pre-Christian, Christian, and secular elements in history. Secondly, I would like to show that without the impulsion of a theological insight, human rights concepts would not have come to their present universal recognition as the legitimate way to defend and promote human flourishing. This will be illustrated by an analysis of how human rights concepts have embedded within them theological principles such as imago dei and human dignity. Finally, I will investigate the possibility of present day human rights detaching from their Christian historical origins and developing a universal legitimacy on a secular basis.

1. Introduction (1000 words)
2. History: Pre Christian, Christian, and Secular (2000 words)
3. Christian bases of their universality (2000 words)
4. Secular bases of universality (2000 words)
5. Conclusion (1000 words)
6. Bibliography
For the first part of the essay (History: Pre Christian, Christian, and Secular (2000 words)) use the following books:
1. Jack Mahoney The Challenge of Human Rights, USA, Blackwell, 2008
2. Tierney, Brian  The idea of natural rights, Studies on Natural Rights, Natural Law and Church Law 1150-1625, Atlanta: Scholars Press for Emory University, 1997
3. Richard Tuck  Natural Rights Theories, Their origin and development  Cambridge University Press, 1979
4. Thomas D. Williams Who is my neighbour? Personalism and the Foundations of human Rights, The Catholic University of America Press, 2005 (only Part 4. 219  282 pp.)

For the second part (Christian bases of their universality (2000 words)) uses the following books and articles:
5. Elizabeth M. Bucar & Barbara Barnett  Does Human Rights Need God? Michigan, Grand RAPID, 2005
6. Roger Ruston  Human rights and the image of God, London, SCM Press, 2004
7. Concilium, Vol. 124 (1979)  The Church and the Rights of Man
8. D. Murray.  The Theological Basis for Human Rights in Irish Theological Quarterly (1990) pp. 81  101.
9. P. Sieghart,  Christianity and Human Rights , The Month, Feb., 1989, pp. 46  53.

For the third part (Secular bases of universality (2000 words)) (one important book is still missing from this part, however as soon as possible I will late you know)
10. Jurgen Habermas  Joseph Ratzinger, The dialectics of secularization, On reason and religion, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2006
11. Elizabeth M. Bucar & Barbara Barnett  Does Human Rights Need God? Michigan, Grand RAPID, 2005 (only from Part II. Secular Reponses, Natural Law and Human Rights: A conversion by Robert P. George 135 -144 pp., Religion, Religions, and Human Rights by Louis Henkin 145  155 pp.

Some further readings
12. John Paul II  Respect for Humane Rights: The secret of True Peace, Message for celebration of the world day of peace, 1 January 1999
13. Second Vatican council, Dignitatis Humanae, 1965

Please do not use any other bibliography just those I have sent to you. In case you do please let me know in advance.