Monday, November 03, 2008

Abortion and the Early Church

Michael J. Gorman,1982, Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish and Pagan Attitudes in the Greco-Roman World, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

Gorman did an interesting study of how Christians, Jews and the Greco-Roman world viewed abortion in the first four hundred years of church history. Abortion was a common practice in the Greco-Roman world; the fetus was not regarded as human and hence not murder. The Jewish community also allowed abortion as the fetus were not considered human until he/she was born.

The early Christians however held a consistent stand against abortion. Gorman believed that while greatly influenced by Greek philosophy, the church nevertheless heeled Jesus' teaching in loving their neighbours, and the unborn fetus were regarded as a neighbour. The church fathers such as Tertullian, Augustine, Basil the Great, Jerome and Ambrose were all against abortion.

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