Work & Human Flourishing

Reading Room

Ali, Abbas J. and Abdullah Al-Owalhan. 2008. “Islamic Work Ethic: A Critical Review.” Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal 15.1 5-9.

Aristotle: Nichomachean Ethics, translated by H. Rackman. 1926. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons.

Baum, Gregory. 1982. The Priority of Labor: A Commentary on “Laborem exercens,” Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II. New York: Paulist Press.

Baum, Gregory. Ed. 1980. Work and Religion. New York: The Seabury Press.

Bellah, Robert N. 1985. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Los Angeles: The University of California Press.

Bruni, Luigino. 2006. Civil Happiness: Economics and Human Flourishing In Historical Perspective. New York: Routledge.

Cameron, Helen, John Reader, and Victoria Slater. Eds. 2012. Theological Reflections for Human Flourishing: Pastoral Practice and Public Theology. Norwich, UK: Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd.

Chenu, Marie Dominique. 1966. The Theology of Work: An Exploration. Dublin: Gill and Son, 1962.

Clark, Dennis. 1967. Work and the Human Spirit. New York: Sheed and Ward.

Clifton, Jim. 2011. The Coming Jobs War: What Every Leader Must Know About the Future of Jobs Creation. New York: Gallup Press.

Cosden, Darrell. 2006. A Theology of Work: Work in the New Creation. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.

Cosden, Darrell. 2006. The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work. UK: Paternoster Press.

Dorff, Elliot. 2007. Theological Roots of Jewish Social Vision. CA: American Jewish University.

Dorff, Elliot. 2005. The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing Our World). Woodstock NY: Jewish Lights Publishing

Evans, William. 2009. “Iris Murdoch, Liberal Education and Human Flourishing.” Journal of Philosophy of Education 43, pp. 75-84.

Geoghegan, Arthur. 1995. The Attitudes Towards Labor: Early Christianity and Ancient Culture. Washington DC: The Catholic University Press of America.

Gini, Al. 2001. My Job, My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual. New York: Routledge.

Graham, Elaine and Anna Rolands. Eds. 2008. Pathways to the Public Square: Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism. London: LIT Verlag.

Griffen, James. 1986. Well Being: Its Meaning, Measurement, and Moral Importance. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hainsworth, Deidre Kay and Scott R. Paeth. 2009. Eds. Public Theology for a Global Society: Essays in Honor of Max L. Stackhouse. New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans.

Haughey, John. Ed. 2004. Revisiting the Idea of Vocation: Theological Explorations. Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press.

Heckman, James J and Alan B. Krueger. 2005. Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hinchliffe, Geoffrey. 2004. “Work and Human Flourishing.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36, pp. 535-547.

Jensen, David Hadley. 2006. Responsive Labor: A Theology of Work. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press.

Kraut, Richard. 2007. What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being. Boston: Harvard University Press.

Moltmann, Jurgen. 1972. Theology of Play. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers.

Murphy, James Bernard. 1993. The Moral Economy of Labor: Aristotelian Themes in Economic Theory. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Nussbaum, Martha C. 2011. Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Paul, Ellen Frankel, Fred Miller and Jeffrey Paul .Eds. 2010. Human Flourishing. Cambridge MA: Cambridge University Press.

Pogge, Thomas. N. 1999. “Human Flourishing and Universal Justice.” Social Philosophy and Policy. 16, pp. 333-361.

Ranft. Patricia. 2006. The Theology of Work: Peter Damian and the Medieval Religious Renewal Movement. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Ranft, Patricia. “Getting to Work: Entitlement Societies and the Devaluation of Labor.” America Magazine. (February 18, 2013). 16-18.

Rasmussen, Douglas B. 1999. “Human Flourishing and the Appeal to Human Nature.” Social Philosophy and Policy. 16, pp. 1-43.

Roth, Michael. 2014. Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Salkin, Jeffrey, K. 1994. Being God’s Partner: How to Find the Hidden Link Between Spirituality and Your Work. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing.

Schaff, Kory. 2001. Philosophy and the Problems of Work: A Reader. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Siegel, Seymour. “A Jewish View of Economic Justice in Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality,” in Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality: A Reader. Eds. Elliot N. Dorff and Louis E. Newman, Eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. pp. 336-343.

Seligman, Martin. 2011. Flourish: A New Visionary Understanding of Happiness, Well Being – And How to Achieve Them. New York: Free Press.

Soelle, Dorothy. 1984. To Work and To Love: A Theology of Creation. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Sorg, Rembert, OSB. 2003. Holy Work: Towards a Benedictine Theology of Manual Labor. CA: Source Books.

Spencer, Mark. “Full Human Flourishing,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. 81, pp.93-204.

Steven, Paul R. 2012. Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture. ___: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company.

Volf, Miroslav. 2001. Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publications.

Withington III, Ben. 2011. A Theology of Work as Vocation: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Younkins, Edward W. 2011. Flourishing and Happiness in a Free Society: Towards a Synthesis of Aristototelianism, Austrian Economics, Positive Psychology, and Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. Maryland: University Press of America.

Catholic Documents

John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis (The Redeemer of Man). Accessed January 18, 2015.

John Paul II, Laborem exercens (On Human Work). Accessed January 18, 2015:

Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (On Capital and Labor). Accessed January 18, 2015.

Vatican Council II, “Gaudium et Spes (“Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)” in Sixteen Documents of Vatican II, ed. Marianne Lorrraine Trouve; Boston: Paulist Books and Media, #63-68.




  • The Capabilities Approach holds that the key question to ask, when comparing societies and assessing them for their basic decency or justice is, “What is each person able to do and to be?”’

    ---Martha C. Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. 2011
  • Humanity’s manufacture of new things is a slight matter compared with the new ideas and new feelings that the invention may give rise to in every direction.”

    --Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution, 1906
  • Slowly but surely medieval religious society’s perception of work changed … it was no longer simply for survival, self-sufficiency, or repentance, now it was for happiness, eternal happiness.”

    --Patricia Ranft, The Theology of Work: Peter Damian and the Medieval Religious Renewal Movement, 2006.
  • Those citizens with good jobs, those with everyday steady income, and those who are truly engaged at work are at the top of the well-being ladder.”

    --Jim Clifton, The Coming Jobs War: What Every Leader Must Know About the Future of Job Creation, 2011.
  •  “Human work is a transformative activity essentially consisting of dynamically interrelated instrumental, relational and ontological dimensions.”

    --Darrell Cosden, A Theology of Work: Work and the New Creation, 2004
  • “The only measure for properly evaluating an age is to ask to what extent it fosters the development and attainment of a full and authentically meaningful human existence.”  

    --Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World, 2001
  • A theological interpretation of work is only valid if it facilitates transformation of work toward ever-greater correspondence with the coming new creation."

    --Miroslav Volf, Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work, 2001
  • “Biblical law was concerned with workers’ welfare and dignity. Prophets preached in the marketplace, not from the podium in the Temple in Jerusalem.”

    --Jeffrey K. Salkin, Being God’s Partner: How to Find the Hidden Link Between Spirituality and Your Work, 1994
  • “Our work does not bestow on us our humanity, but it is the way we can express in a useful manner our likeness to God as creators, sustainers, redeemers.”

    --Ben Witherington III, Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor, 2011
  • “A new work philosophy would seem to entail certain things as minimum elements… the norm of individualism in economic life would have to yield to a broader vision of the role of the person in society.”

    --Dennis Clark, Work & The Human Spirit, 1967
  • “The human being – in the splendid rabbinic phrase – is a partner with God in the work of creation. The human being’s place in creation is to preserve the world but also to transform it.”

    --Seymour Siegel, “A Jewish View of Economic Justice.” in Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality, 1995
  • A critical and self-reflective theology of work understands the meaning of human work within the context of a theory of society, in which transcendent values of love and justice should become immanent and prevail."

    --Francis Schussler Fiorenza, “Religious Beliefs and Praxis: Reflections on Catholic Theological Views of Work” in Work and Religion, 1980.
  • “The dignity of the human person, realized in community with others, is the criterion against which all aspects of human life must be measured.”

    --U.S. Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 1986
  • “What sustains the good of society is not the endless growth of purchasing power, but the relationships made possible in the good work of the community.”

    --David H. Jensen, Responsive Labor: A Theology of Work, 2006
  • I believe that one of the new possibilities of demonstrating the qualitative difference between a free and unfree society lies precisely in our ability to discover the the realm of freedom in labor and not merely beyond it.”

    --Herbert Marcuse, The End of Utopia, 1967, p.20.
  • “Play as world symbol goes beyond the categories of doing, having, and achieving and leads us to the categories of being, of authentic human existence and demonstrative rejoicing in it.”

    --Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Play, 1972, p. 23
  • The integral development of the human person through work does not impede but rather promotes the greater productivity and efficiency of work itself, even though it may weaken consolidated power structures.”

    --Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, May 1, 1991, No. 43
  • It is through labor that people create their world, and it is through the same labor that in a certain sense they also create themselves.”

    --Gregory Baum, The Priority of Labor: A Commentary on Laborem exercens Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul I, 1982
  • Through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed in a sense becomes more of a human being.”

    --Pope John Paul II, Laborem exercens, 1981, No. 6
  • We need a vision of work that recognizes and honors the precept that, minimally, work must do two things – maintain life and add to it.”

    --Al Gini, My Job, My Self: Work And The Creation Of The Modern Individual, 2001.