1st Edition

Theology, Morality and Adam Smith

Edited By Jordan J. Ballor, Cornelis van der Kooi Copyright 2022
    314 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    314 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This work details the theological sources and moral significance of the life and work of the Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790).

    The panel of contributors deepens our understanding of Adam Smith in his religious and theological context and the significance of this understanding for contemporary moral, economic, and political challenges to modern social life. The chapters cover a broad range of disciplinary and historical concerns, from Smith’s view of providence and his famous "invisible hand" to the role of self-interest and benevolence in Smith’s social and economic thought. A better appreciation for the moral and theological dimensions of Smith’s thought provides not only a better understanding of Smith’s own context and significance in the Scottish Enlightenment but also promises to assist in meeting the perennial challenges of properly connecting economic realities to moral responsibility.

    The book is of interest to advanced students and scholars of the history of economic thought, historical and moral theology, intellectual history, political science, and philosophy.

    Introduction: Exploring Adam Smith’s Theological Contexts, Sources, and Significance
    Jordan J. Ballor and Cornelis van der Kooi

    1. Bourgeois Culture: Understanding Adam Smith’s Moral Horizon
    Govert J. Buijs

    2. A Survey of Adam Smith’s Theological Sources
    Jordan J. Ballor

    3. Calvin and Smith on Providence, Morality, Virtues, and Human Flourishing
    Cornelis van der Kooi

    4. Self-Love and Its Discontents: Trajectories in Reformed Moral Philosophy and Theology before Adam Smith
    Andrew M. McGinnis

    5. Smith and the Scholastic Tradition on Markets and Their Moral Rationale
    Edd Noell

    6. Adam Smith’s Seventeenth-Century French Theological Sources
    Ryan Patrick Hanley

    7. Smith and Enlightened Augustinianism
    Joost Hengstmengel

    8. Adam Smith’s Theological Hinterland
    David Fergusson

    9. Butler and Smith’s Ethical and Theological Framing of Commerce
    Erik W. Matson

    10. Adam Smith’s Theory of the Moral Vicegerents of God
    Rudi Verburg

    11. Adam Smith’s Theology and Virtues as Conditions for the Potential of Free-Market Economies to Contribute to Human Flourishing
    Johan Graafland

    12. The Adam Smith Problem Theologically Reconsidered
    Luigino Bruni and Paolo Santori

    13. Smith on Moral Agency and the Significance of Context
    Christina McRorie


    Jordan J. Ballor is a theologian with doctoral degrees in Reformation history from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and moral theology from Calvin Theological Seminary, USA. He is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy and executive editor of the Journal of Religion, Culture & Democracy. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics.

    Cornelis van der Kooi is professor emeritus in systematic theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and has published widely in the field of systematic theology and on the theology and impact of (neo)calvinism. Currently he serves as distinguished scholar at the Erasmus Economics and Theology Institute (EETI) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.