Writings by Germain Grisez and Peter Ryan, S.J.
Edited By Peter J. Weigel
For close to half a century, the work of Germain Grisez, although often controversial, has been highly influential in Catholic circles, while his writings continue to receive considerable attention from philosophers and theologians of diverse viewpoints. Still engaged in research and writing, he is now emeritus Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is perhaps best known for his work in ethical theory, which began in the early 1960s. One of his early publications in that field is the first item in the present volume. Another early article, often translated and widely commented upon, challenged widely held ideas about the first principle of practical reasoning by offering a detailed and fresh exegesis of St. Thomas Aquinas’ highly original articulation and explanation of that principle.1
Those articles and Grisez’s other early work in ethical theory, which often developed but sometimes challenged Aquinas’ views, initiated a school of thought involving a number of other scholars. Critics wanting to suggest that their views had no foundation in Aquinas or in the wider Catholic tradition, called it “the New Natural Law Theory.”2 Still, that label eventually was adopted even by some members of the school.3
Besides ethical theory and fundamental moral theology, Grisez’s work over the years spans a remarkable array of topics in both philosophy and theology, including the existence of God, the reality of free choice, body-self dualism, the bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the authority of...
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