The End of Work: Theological Critiques of Capitilism / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $96.79
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 23%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $96.79   
  • New (9) from $96.79   
  • Used (3) from $97.79   


Surveys twentieth century theologies of work, contrasting differing approaches to consider the “problem of labor” from a theological perspective.

  • Aimed at theologians concerned with how Christianity might engage in social criticism, as well those who are interested in the connection between Marxist and Christian traditions
  • Explores debates about labor under capitalism and considers the relationship between divine and human work
  • Through a thorough reading of Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic, argues that the triumph of the "spirit of utility" is crucial to understanding modern notions of work
  • Draws on the work of various twentieth century Catholic thinkers, including Josef Pieper, Jacques Maritain, Eric Gill, and David Jones
  • Published in the new and prestigious Illuminations series.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"These two excellent books provide thematic indices of Christianways of understanding both power and work. They also illustrate howprofoundly the repertoire of Christianity and of its Judaic originspermeates contemporary society in spite of the impossibleprescriptions and false descriptions that declare religion confinedto the private realm." (Times Literary Supplement, 29 July 2011)

"Adam was expelled from the garden of Eden to till the ground inthe sweat of his face, so the bible says, leaving us with centuriesof theological argument about how to relate the reality for so manypeople of work as toil, drudgery and effectively a curse, to theequally familiar experience of work as creative achievement andpersonal fulfilment. Post-Christian we may now be in Britain, yetin a society still reeling from de-industrialization, withunemployment endemic in certain quarters, with leisure activitiesexpanding vastly, and so on, there is a rich and complex Christiantradition of thinking about the nature of work which John Hughesputs back on the agenda in this provocative book." Fergus Kerr,University of Oxford

"John Hughes has written not about work but about the 'end' ofwork. But this is the most far-reaching question imaginable inpractical reason. To what end do we exert ourselves at all? What dowe hope to achieve? Through a tour of reading in nineteenth andtwentieth century thinkers that is as subtle and sympathetic as itis diverse and adventurous he has shown us how the ancient strugglebetween the fine and the useful has been played out dramatically inthe post-industrial West, and holds the key to a great deal that wethink of as modernity. Here is an exciting new voice contributingto the interpretation of our moral predicaments. I cannot imagineanyone putting Hughes’ book down without having learnedsomething important." Oliver O'Donovan, University ofEdinburgh

"Its strength lies in its illuminating discussions of a fairlywide range of writers."
Times Higher Education Supplement

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

John Hughes is Curate of St David’s with St Michael’s Exeter and holds a Cambridge PhD. He has published a number of articles in top journals such as Telos and Modern Theology.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents



Introduction: Work in the Christian Tradition.

1. Twentieth-century Theologies of Work: Karl Barth,Marie-Dominique Chenu, John Paul II and Miroslav Volf.

2. Utility as the Spirit of Capitalism: Max Weber’sDiagnosis of Modern Work.

3. Labour, Excess and Utility in Karl Marx: The Problem ofMaterialism and the Aesthetic.

4. John Ruskin and William Morris: An Alternative Tradition:Labor and the Theo-aesthetic in English Romantic Critiques ofCapitalism.

5. The Frankfurt School: The Critique of Instrumental Reason andHints of Return to the Theo-aesthetic within Marxism.

6. The end of Work: Rest, Beauty and Liturgy: The CatholicMetaphysical Critique of the Culture of Work and its Incorporationinto the English Romantic Tradition: Josef Pieper, JacquesMaritain, Eric Gill and David Jones.

7. Concluding Remarks: Labor, Utility and Theology.



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)