Rodion Valentinovich Savinov PhD in Philosophy, associate professor, Saint-Petersburg State Academy of Veterinary Medicine (ulitsa Chernigovskaya, 5, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 196084)
Savinov R.V. Сriticism of Рossibility of Natural Theology in William Ames’ «Disputatio theologica adversus ethicam» (Preface to the publication), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2019, vol. 8, pp. 394–424.
The article analyses English Puritan theologian William Ames’«Disputatio theologica adversus ethicam» which contains criticismof Early Modern theology, in particular, the possibility of building ethicsindependent of both biblical Revelation and religious sources. RabbinicalJudaism and Catholicism are considered by William Ames as representativesof the concept of «traditions», socially established forms of religiosity. Amesseeks to show that these forms of worship are untrue, for they supplementthe biblical command with historically emerged customs, thereby violatingthe principle of sola Scriptura. The second mode of non-religious piety isrepresented by philosophical ethics, in particular, the Aristotle’s moraldoctrine, which was the basis of the ethical teachings of the Early ModernTimes, both Catholic and Protestant. The rationalism of Aristotelian ethicsand its immanent point of view to human morality are considered by Ames asa violation of the principle of sola fide, because ethics is based on the independentnature of man, which makes the principles of Revelation unnecessary. Amesconsiders biblical moral theology (the so-called Ethica Christiana) an alternativefor Scholasticism, which, on the one hand, integrates the basic principlesof philosophical ethics (the concept and varieties of virtues), and, on the otherhand, is based on the theological principle of holiness as the goal of human lifein the eyes of God (coram Deo). Thus, the theology of William Ames became analternative to the scholastic understanding of ethics and theology, and served asthe basis for new forms of describing religious experience in Puritanism of the17th century