Some theological and some non-theological perspectives on the legal institution of monogamous marriage

Patterson, George William (1979) Some theological and some non-theological perspectives on the legal institution of monogamous marriage. LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The relationship between the legal institution of monogamous marriage and Christian beliefs is discussed ( Introduction ). The Roman Catholic tradition of sexual morality is considered, along with Christian views which self-consciously reject much within this tradition. Legalism and anti-nomianism are referred to ( Chanters One and Two ). It is argued that no coherent alternative to monogamous marriage has emerged within Western society, and that no competing viewpoint - such as, for example, that of secular-1iberalism - provides a value-free basis from which traditional morality can be rejected ( Chapter Three ). The attempt to justify monogamous marriage by pragmatic arguments, based on the history and traditions of Western society, is considered ( Chapter Four ) It is argued, making use of the distinction between a norm and an exception to a norm, that much of the criticism directed against monogamous marriage fails to offer any normative alternative. Such normative alternatives as polygyny, polygamy and plural marriage are critically considered. It is argued that, even without explicit ethical or theological justification, the normative character of monogamous marriage within Western society can be provisionally affirmed, in the absence of any viable alternative norm ( Chapter Five ). The perspective of Agape-ethics, as a significant ethical possibility independent of Christian ontological beliefs, is discussed ( Chapter Six ). It is argued that Agape-ethics is basically consistent with the ethical presuppositions of traditional sexual morality, and that this non-theological perspective points clearly, if unsystematically, towards the conclusion that monogamous marriage provides the most adequate context for full human flourishing ( Chapter Seven ). Karl Barth's discussion of the male-female relationship, within a distinctive theological context, is considered at some length. This represents a radical reappraisal of the Western tradition of sexual morality, from an uncompromising Christian perspective, without any abandonment of what is central within that tradition ( Chapters Eight and Nine ). The legal dimension of monogamous marriage, in its institutional and social aspects, is considered ( Chapter Ten ). Modern marriage law - particularly Scots and English marriage law - is considered, with reference to the following questions:- consent to marriage ( Chapter Eleven ); the prohibited degrees ( Chapter Twelve ); the formalities of marriage ( Chapter Thirteen ); and sexual intercourse between husband and wife ( Chapter Fourteen ). The attitude of the United Kingdom Courts to foreign marriages, monogamous and polygamous, is discussed (Chapter Fifteen ). The financial implications of marriage, and the differentiation of roles within marriage, are considered (Chapter Sixteen ). The dissolution of marriage by divorce is discussed, with reference to recent legislative innovations within the United Kingdom ( Chapter Seventeen ). In conclusion, it is argued that the value and importance of monogamous marriage within "'estern society can be defended even by persons who lack any ethical or religious appreciation of its intrinsic authoritativeness ( Chapter Eighteen ).

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Theology
Date of Award: 1979
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1979-73368
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73368

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