2011: James Gustafson receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

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The Society of Christian Ethics bestowed its first Lifetime Achievement Award for “creative and lasting contributions to the field of Christian ethics” to James M. Gustafson on January 7, 2011 at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans.  Presenting the award, Douglas Ottati, SCE’s President said, “Professor Gustafson’s publications were path breaking,” and “at Yale, Chicago, and Emory, he trained a truly exceptional number of leading Christian ethicists.”  No one has done more in recent years to advance and define the field . . .” Ottati noted prominent themes in Gustafso[img_assist|nid=1519|title=Gustafson and Ottati, 2011|desc=James Gustafson (left), recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and SCE President Douglas Ottati (right).|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=143]n’s work, and he concluded,  “When Professor Gustafson taught a student, she or he had better bring her or his best game.  Not so much because of what the good professor required, although he sometimes required quite a lot, as because of what he embodied.  One result is that the accomplished scholars he trained have made compelling contributions at universities, seminaries, and colleges.  They have advanced the field in a dizzying variety of areas from theology, Bible and ethics, medical ethics, the ethics of war, and sexual ethics, to exploring the human, and interpreting church, ministry, and society.  When it comes to Christian ethics it is virtually true that, if you can name it, scholars trained by Professor Gustafson have explored it.  To obtain a representative sample, you need only look around this room.  These are scholars who have made their many contributions with a commitment, analytical rigor, and attention to argument that often recalls their teacher.  But they have done so – and this is a point that deserves very special emphasis – while advancing their own traditions, their own analyses, and their own constructive positions in theology and ethics.  Jim Gustafson didn’t clone Christian ethicists; he taught them. 

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For all of these reasons and very many more, on behalf of those assembled here and of many others who cannot be, it is my very great privilege, honor, and pleasure to present this Society’s first Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor James M. Gustafson.”

Photos courtesy of Jan Jans.