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Radical Orthodoxy’s Flawed Critique of Markets and Morality

John Lunn


Radical Orthodoxy (RO) consists of a group of theologians who are very critical of market economies and representative democracy. They claim that philosophical and theological innovations in the late Middle Ages ultimately led to the Enlightenment and to capitalism. They argue that a return to medieval and patristic roots of Christian thought is needed to have a Christian social order. They utilize a genealogical approach that traces out how changes made by Duns Scotus and William of Ockham to the theology associated with Aquinas caused a movement to secularism and to an unjust economic system. I offer a critique of their arguments by arguing that they ignore history in their account and fail to consider how an extensive division of labor in modern economies requires an approach different from the one they offer.

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