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12 Cap. U. L. Rev. 179 (1982-1983)


I am talking at a Lutheran university and therefore should probably have some theses, some propositions that I could nail to the chapel door. But I'm afraid I have failed Martin Luther: I have only one thesis and it is not ready for a nail. It is still as much a question as a thesis. My question is whether there is any point in including moral theology in the study of legal ethics in the university. Let me be candid: I teach the typical required course in "professional responsibility," and I do a lot of writing on ethics, and I do, in my fumbling way, include moral theology in both enterprises. The reason I have this question to talk with you about is because I attract a bit of gentle astonishment for my approach to the subject, and I cause a certain amount of discomfort among my colleagues and students. I need a ringing intellectual reason for doing what I do. I doubt that Professor John E. Sullivan, for whom this lecture series is named, bothers with such misgivings when he teaches criminal law or torts; he has more self confidence than that, I am sure. And if Martin Luther had misgivings like mine he had so much style that his misgivings didn't show; he was not a tentative thinker.


Reprinted with permission of the Capital University Law Review.



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