Original Research

Food justice and Christian ethics

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 33, No 2 | a768 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v33i2.768 | © 2012 Heinrich Bedford-Strohm | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2012 | Published: 06 December 2012

About the author(s)

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, University of Stellenbosch, University of Bamberg, Lutheran Church of Bavaria, University of Pretoria, Germany

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The article dealt with the moral and political problem of international food justice in which the deep contradiction between the present situation of malnourishment and starvation in large parts of the global population on the one hand and the biblical notion of the preferential option for the poor on the other hand was described. This ecumenically widely accepted notion was clarified in several aspects. How deeply this is rooted in the history of Christian social thought was shown by Martin Luther’s writings on the economy which have remained relatively unknown in the churches and in the scholarly world. The article then presented three models of Christian economic ethic: the technical economic model, the utopian economic model and the public theological economic model. On the basis of the public theological model seven challenges for international food justice were presented. The basis for these challenges is an understanding of globalisation which guarantees just participation for everyone and deals with nature in an ecologically sustainable way. The interests of small farmers are the basis for judging the activities of big agro-corporations. Public theology is the background for an active involvement of the churches as agents of a global civil society to promote international food justice.


justice; food; public theology; globalisation; poverty


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