Next Article in Journal
A Translation of the Arabic Duʿāʾ al-Saḥar (The Dawn Supplication) or Duʿāʾ al-Bahāʾ (The Supplication of Splendour) with Select Expository Scriptural Writings of the Bāb and Bahāʾu’llāh
Next Article in Special Issue
Adat Law, Ethics, and Human Rights in Modern Indonesia
Previous Article in Journal
Philosophy of Religion in a Fragmented Age: Practice and Participatory Realism
Previous Article in Special Issue
Nurturing Inherent Nobility: Insights on Human Dignity from a Bahá’í Perspective
Peer-Review Record

The Recovery of Human Dignity in Protestant Christianity and Its Ethical Implications

Religions 2023, 14(3), 425;
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2:
Religions 2023, 14(3), 425;
Original submission received: 3 February 2023 / Revised: 7 March 2023 / Accepted: 9 March 2023 / Published: 21 March 2023

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Pls. see the attached file. 

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you for the thoughtful review. In response, we would like to provide the following comments:

  1. Human dignity is certainly treated different in the first and latter parts of the paper. This is not a fault of the paper but, in essence, it is the point of the paper. In the 16th century, human dignity is addressed as an element of soteriology, meaning that human dignity was only relevant in relation to salvation. The import is that human dignity and did not entail a social or political demand on Christians. By the 19th century, minority and marginalized groups of Christians employed a different understanding of human dignity rooted in their theological anthropology. This change universalized human dignity, and the import is that a new theological politics was needed: strong social and political demands predicated on the assumption that human dignity inheres in all humans emerged. In all cases, humans are understood to be created in the image of God—that does not change. Rather, what changes is the understanding of the power of sin to destroy the image of God in humans and, therefore, the dignity of humans.
  2. The paper operates on the assumption that the sharp bifurcation of “theological” and “political” employed by the reviewer is untenable in this context. What we mean is that the claim of human dignity has necessary entailments that are social and political for all of the Protestant leaders cited in the latter parts of the paper. One might disagree with this in principle (as many 16th century Protestants did), but to do so in the context of this analysis would be to arbitrarily impose a distinction that would inaccurately represent the central 18th, 19th, and 20th-century figures under discussion. That is the upshot of moving human dignity from soteriology to anthropology.
  3. The purpose of this paper is not to develop a thorough chronological or genealogical account of the changes to understandings of human dignity from the 16th to the 20th century—that would take at least a monograph. The purpose here is to demonstrate that there are radically different accounts of human dignity within the Protestant tradition that entail different social and political claims. Negatively, this is also to claim that there is no single or synthetic understanding of human dignity within Protestant thought. We believe we have made that case and illuminated how that ambiguity yields differing and potentially problematic social and political arrangements between Christians and non-Christians.  

Reviewer 2 Report

This is a well written and thought provoking paper. You have set yourself a big - perhaps book-length - task, but nevertheless do a good job of setting and exploring the context within the limits of an academic paper.

The use of the RSV (lines 56-60, and elsewhere) is a slightly odd choice - the gender inclusive NRSV might be better.

The section on Luther would be improved if there was at least a brief mention of his changing attitude towards Jewish people, culminating in his denial of human dignity for them - see Luther's "on the Jews and their lies" as one key text.

Much more could have been said on slavery and Dalit Christianity, but the argument is clear and cogent.

The quotations should be indented, or otherwise signalled.

The font size changes randomly in two places (line 245, line 249ff)

The conclusion could make a slightly stronger point about human dignity.

With these, relatively minor, changes, this will be a fine paper and well worth publishing.


Author Response

Thank you for the generous and helpful review. We have addressed the proofreading notes (and thanks for the NRSV catch), and we fully recognize that more could be said in all cases. We have chosen not to address Luther on the Jews (or the Turks) because this would have taken us in contested matters well beyond the scope of dignity. But, this is something worth returning to in more detail in another context. Finally, we have tried to sharpen the distinction between the 16th and 19th centuries by naming the transition from soteriology to anthropology in a more consistent way throughout, including the conclusion. 

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

see the attached file. 

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Back to TopTop