Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2011


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Sean P. Kealy

Committee Member

Henk ten Have


Bioethics, New Testament


Beauchamp and Childress' Principles of Biomedical Ethics is a well accepted approach to contemporary bioethics. Those principles are based on what Beauchamp and Childress call the common morality. This dissertation employs New Testament theological themes to enhance the meaning of contemporary principles of bioethics. Beginning with the incarnation in the New Testament, the invitation-response hermeneutic is developed as a hermeneutic to use in studying the New Testament. The primary New Testament text for this study is the twin commands from Jesus to love God and love one's neighbor. Three theological themes are developed from this study and these three themes are employed to enhance the meaning of contemporary bioethics principles. The three themes of the image of God, the covenant, and the pursuit of healing are deeply embedded in the New Testament and in the ministry of Jesus Christ in particular. Three contemporary bioethics principles are used for this dissertation, based on The Belmont Report. They are the principle of respect for persons, the principle of justice, and the principle of beneficence. In each case, the theological themes are shown to enhance the meaning of these bioethics principles. Each of the three principles, as understood through the three theological themes, is applied to a current bioethics issue to demonstrate the efficacy of this approach. The three current issues addressed are the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatment, the distribution of health care in the Untied States, and the use of palliative care.