Protestant Traditions of Bioethics Bases (Translation from German by Ganna Hubenko)


  • Hans-Martin Sass Ruhr-University



Fritz Jar, bioethics, bioethical imperative, categorical imperative


The term and concept of bioethics  (Bio-Ethik) originally were developed by Fritz Jahr, a Protestant Pastor in Halle an der Saale in 1927, long before in the 1970ties bioethics in the modern sense was recreated in the US and since has spread globally. Jahr’s bioethical imperative, influenced by Christian and humanist traditions from Assisi to Schopenhauer and by Buddhist philosophy holds its own position against Kant’s anthropological imperative and against dogmatic Buddhist reasoning: ‘Respect each living being as an end in itself and treat it, if possible, as such’. Jahr interprets the 5th Commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ offensively and liberally as ‘common morality’ which includes the obligation of caring for one’s own health, public health and health education within the wider framework of a universal bioethical Sittengesetz. Pastor Fritz Jahr, who had no immediate influence during his times, built a strong first Protestant foundation for contemporary theological and ethical concepts in medical ethics, bioethics, and environmental ethics.

Author Biography

Hans-Martin Sass, Ruhr-University

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy,  Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany; Founder and Member of the Board, Center for Medical Ethics; Emeritus Senior Research of Scholar Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington; Honorary Professor of Research Center for Bioethics, Peking Union Medical College.


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How to Cite

Sass, H.-M. (2016). Protestant Traditions of Bioethics Bases (Translation from German by Ganna Hubenko). Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 19(2), 221–230.






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