CMF on Facebook CMF on Twitter CMF on YouTube RSS Get in Touch with CMF
menu resources

Ethics at the beginning of life

winter 2015

From triple helix - winter 2015 - Ethics at the beginning of life [p20]

PDF version
(Right click and choose 'save as...' to download a printable version of this article)

A phenomenological critique

James Mumford

OUP, 2013, £67 (Pb £25) Hb 212pp, ISBN 9780199673964
Reviewed by Trevor Stammers, Programme Director in Bioethics and Medical Law, St Mary's University, London

This book is not a light read, but for those with a good grounding in moral philosophy and theology, it proves as rewarding as it is challenging. Phenomenology has traditionally been used by feminist writers largely to support abortion. But this work is remarkable in being the only one (to my knowledge) to use the phenomenology of pregnancy or what Mumford dubs 'the human emergence of the newone', to argue a moral case against abortion.

It is erudite and, though a dictionary may be needed alongside, it is also lucidly and engagingly written with plentiful illustrations drawn from works as diverse as Shakespeare's plays and Shriver's We Need to Talk about Kevin.

Mumford takes Scripture seriously and cogently but is equally familiar with Nietzsche. He notes that, in the end, the latter also concluded that it is the Christian doctrine of the imago Dei which 'granted man (and Mensch as each individual man) absolute value, as opposed to his smallness and accidental occurrence in the flux of becoming and passing away'. Exactly so - and this book demonstrates clearly why.

Article written by Trevor Stammers

More from triple helix: winter 2015

  • Junior doctors and industrial action
  • A turning point in global health
  • Down's screening
  • Marris bill defeated
  • Atheism, science and liberal values
  • Avoiding Burnout
  • Why the NHS Needs Christians
  • Are we losing our compassion?
  • Should Christian Doctors Strike? YES
  • Legal Highs': Lawful But Not Helpful
  • should christian doctors strike? NO
  • The Changing Scene in Global Health
  • Healing God's way
  • Preaching
  • Crazy Busy
  • Ethics at the beginning of life
  • Healed at Last
  • Half the sky
  • Why we pray
  • Eutychus
  • Protestant social thought in Latin America
  • Christian Medical Fellowship:
    uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
    Contact Phone020 7234 9660
    Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
    © 2019 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
    Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
    Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd   
    Technical: ctrlcube