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The Protestant Ethics collection encompasses all major historic streams of Protestantism, including Reformed, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Congregational and Waldensian traditions, with links to resources from throughout the world, including minority contexts, taking a global perspective and underlining the changing contexts within which ethical reflection takes place.
The collection is an essential complement to already existing Globethics.net collections on religious ethics
, such as Catholic
ethics. It contains primary sources of selected works of the Reformers, general reference materials, official documents of Reformed churches on various topics of Christian ethics and/or related doctrines, the historical development of the Protestant ethical discourse, and current state theological research and reflection on major ethical issues, such as social, economic, political, and environmental ethics from among major Protestant theologians.
One of the main sources for present-day ethics was the 16th century Reformation, which led to a fundamental reordering of society in Europe and a new understanding of the relationships between the individual, the Church and the State. Alongside the work of Martin Luther in Germany, the changes wrought by Jean Calvin and others in Geneva, Huldrych Zwingli in Zürich, Joachim Vadian in St Gallen and their outreach throughout Europe, extended far beyond the realm of the church into the political, legal and economic spheres and had a profound influence on art and language. The stress on individual conscience and responsibility that emerged in the Reformation was one of the sources of the European Enlightenment. Through migration, empire-building and missionary movements, Protestantism spread outside Europe, influencing states and societies worldwide and engendering the emergence of new Protestant movements. Protestant social ethics have been associated with very controversial developments: providing legitimization for slavery, National Socialism in Germany and Apartheid in South Africa. At the same time, Protestant ethics also provided the underpinning for fierce resistance to such economic and political systems. Contemporary Protestant social ethics cover issues such as climate change, the economy, work, human rights, development and sustainability.
The development of the collection has been supported through funds from the Fondation pour l'aide au protestantisme réformé, the Paroisse de Chêne, Eglise Protestante de Genève and the Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons St Gallen.