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Health as a Virtue

Health as a Virtue

Pickwick Publications 2014 Hardcover

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How are we to care for our bodies and our health as part of faithful Christian living? Melanie Dobson excavates from Thomas Aquinas an answer for how contemporary Christians might live well in the midst of a very sick culture. Through a close reading of Aquinas's Treatise on Habit, Dobson reveals that the moral practice of habit does indeed include health. Thomas's keen understanding of the human person and of human longings supports the book's argument for a practice of health that directs us deep into the heart of God. Field research with clergy and missionaries offers concrete examples of the implementation of habits of health as part of the life of Christian virtue. The stories from the Clergy Health Initiative and Word Made Flesh missionary organization exhibit transformations that ushered Christian leaders into deeper love of God, neighbor, and themselves. In the end, the theology of habits of health means that our quotidian care of our bodies is not only faithful, but directs us into a life of flourishing. Melanie Dobson's book is not only a compelling scholarly presentation of Aquinas's account of health as habit, but it is also a constructive presentation of the difference Christian convictions might have for how we understand health. This book will be of great interest to scholars of Aquinas and anyone who wants to think theologically about the challenges of health care. --Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC Taking those first steps toward a virtuous habit is daunting, but perhaps that's because we often take those steps alone or for selfish reasons. Melanie Dobson reframes the practice, demonstrating how forming a healthy habit can be the path toward greater connection with others and with God. Health as a Virtue is a very accessible and motivating read. --Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, Assistant Research Professor, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC Melanie L. Dobson is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church. She holds a ThD in theology and ethics from Duke University and is currently serving at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.

More Product Information


  • Publisher: Pickwick Publications
  • ISBN: 1498226728
  • ISBN-13: 9781498226721
  • SKU: 9781498226721
  • Release Date: June 25, 2014
  • Pages: 170
  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Height: 0.44 inches
  • Width: 6.00 inches
  • Length: 9.00 inches
  • Weight: 0.88 pounds

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