Putting Religion Back Into Religious Ethics

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3 Scopus citations


This essay on Richard Miller’s Friends and Other Strangers (2016) locates its arguments in the context of how the practice of religious ethics bears upon debates about normativity in the study of religion and the cultural turn in the humanities. After reviewing its main claims about identity and otherness, I focus on three areas. First, while commending Miller’s effort to analogize virtuous empathy with Augustine’s ethics of rightly ordered love, I raise questions about his use of Augustine and his distinctive formulation of Augustinian “iconic realism.” Second, I suggest his discussion of public reason is at odds with the dialogical spirit of the book and may distract from the democratic solidarity required by our political moment. Third, more briefly, I highlight the practical implications of Miller’s vision for higher education at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-179
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Religious Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


  • Augustine
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Richard Miller
  • alterity
  • culture
  • empathy
  • higher education
  • identity
  • love
  • public reason
  • realism
  • religious ethics
  • responsibility
  • structural injustice
  • war


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