The Soul of the Embryo
A radical examination of the Christian tradition relating to the human embryo and how this relates to the debate today. In recent years, the moral status of the human embryo has come to the fore as a vital issue for...
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A radical examination of the Christian tradition relating to the human embryo and how this relates to the debate today. In recent years, the moral status of the human embryo has come to the fore as a vital issue for a range of contemporary ethical debates* concerning the over-production, freezing and discarding of embryos in IVF; concerning the use of 'spare' embryos for scientific experimentation; and finally, concerning the prospect of producing clone embryos. These debates have involved not only general philosophical arguments, but also specifically religious arguments. Many participants have attempted to find precedent from the Christian tradition for the positions they wish to defend.It is therefore extraordinary that until The Soul of the Embryo there has been no significant work on the history of Christian reflection on the human embryo. Here, David Albert Jones seeks to tell the story of this unfolding tradition - a story that encompasses many different medical, moral, philosophical and theological themes. He starts by examining the understanding of the embryo in the Hebrew Scritpures, then moves through early Christianity and the Middle Ages to the Reformation and beyond.;Finally, Albert Jones considers the application of this developed tradition to contemporary situation and questions which contemporary Christian view or views are best regarded as authentic developments of the tradition and which should be regarded as alien to the tradition.
David Albert Jones is Academic Director, St Mary's College Twickenham.ý