The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God / Edition 1

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In this book, controversial and world-renowned theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, tackles the issue of theology being sidelined as a necessary discipline in the modern university. It is an attempt to reclaim the knowledge of God as just that – knowledge.

  • Questions why theology is no longer considered a necessary subject in the modern university, and explores the role it should play in the development of our “knowledge”
  • Considers how theology is often excluded from the knowledges of the modern university because these are constituted by an understanding of time necessary to make economic and state realities seem inevitable
  • Argues that it is precisely this difference that makes Christian theology an essential resource for the university to achieve its task - that is, to form people who are able to imagine a different world through critical and disciplined reflection
  • Challenges the domesticated character of much recent theology by suggesting how prayer and the love of the poor are essential practices that should shape the theological task
  • Converses with figures as diverse as Luigi Giussani, David Burrell, Stanley Fish, Wendell Berry, Jeff Stout, Rowan Williams and Sheldon Wolin
  • Published in the new and prestigious Illuminations series.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A first-order theologian turns his sights on one of the mostinfluential institutions in the modern society: the university… Lively reading.” Books & Culture

“This collection is sometimes frustrating … and itraises more questions than it answers. Yet it ought to be readwidely, and received as a gift to both the Church and theuniversity. For anyone involved in the work of teaching, this bookis a perfect invitation to think through questions of what we aredoing and why.” Church Times

“One feels … invited to ruminate alongside theauthor ... Truly, food for thought.” Cresset

"With characteristic conversational energy, Hauerwas asks hisreaders to take seriously the difference which those who confessthe God of the gospel can bring to institutions of learning. Thebook grows out of the free, generous and lively wisdom of faith,and deserves to be widely debated." John Webster, King'sCollege, Aberdeen

"Positioning himself against Yale University President RichardLevin's defense of Liberal Education as a crucial source for "thepreservation of individual freedom", Stanley Hauerwas asks theobvious but uncomfortable question, freedom for what? If studentspass through the courses in the curriculum as consumers andsightseeers, they will replicate and extend the modern malaise of alife lived without reference to anything that makes its momentsintelligible. If the university is to be more than a reflection ofan atomized society, those who live in it, says Hauerwas, must asktwo questions academics either avoid (here I am one of hisexamples) or answer with empty pieties: what is a university forand whom does it serve? It is the great merit of Hauerwas's bookthat it refuses to back away from these questions, even as itacknowledges the difficulty of giving a full and satisfying answerto them. A witty, learned , and very human meditation on therelationship between the factories of knowledge and the knowledgeof God." Stanley Fish, Florida InternationalUniversity

“This book by an eminent Christian theologian isprovocative for thinking fruitfully about our troubled times.Hauerwas has a subtle, learned and compassionate mind, which hebrings to bear on the secular state in which we live and on thesecular knowledge produced in our universities to serve it.Non-Christians like myself will find reading this book amind-widening experience.” Talal Asad, CUNY

"Whether one agrees or disagrees with some of the positionsHauerwas stakes out, reading his work is always a bracingintellectual experience - and a deeply Christian one. The Stateof the University proves no exception. With characteristictheological craftsmanship, humor, and passion, Hauerwas turns hissights on the contemporary university, in all its dignity,wrongheadedness, goodness, and confusion. Anyone interested in thefate of theological knowledge in contemporary society, anyoneinterested in serious education (or lack thereof) in liberaldemocracies, anyone who cares for the mission of the church in thetwenty-first century will profit considerably from reading andrereading this book." Thomas Albert Howard, Gordon College,Oxford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405162487
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Series: Illuminations: Theory & Religion Series , #4
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke University and holds a joint appointment in Duke Law School. He is known to be controversial and outspoken; his stand as a pacifist against the Iraq war made him a nationally recognized dissident but won him few friends. His work cuts across disciplinary lines: systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics.

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Table of Contents



1. Theological Knowledge and the Knowledges of the University:Beginning Explorations.

2. Leaving Ruins: The Gospel and Cultural Formations.

3. How Risky is The Risk of Education: Random Reflections fromthe American Context.

4. The End of "Religious Pluralism:" A Tribute to David Burrell,C.S.C.

5. The Pathos of the University: The Case of Stanley Fish.

6. What Would a Christian University Look Like?: Some TentativeAnswers Inspired by Wendell Berry.

7. Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana: Schooling the Heart in the Heart ofTexas.

8. Christians and the So-Called State (We Are In): A Meditationon Loyalty after September 11, 2001.

9. Democratic Time: Lessons Learned from Yoder and Wolin.

10. The State of the Secular: Theology, Prayer, and theUniversity.

11. To Love God, the Poor, and Learning: Lessons Learned fromSaint Gregory of Nazianzus.

12. Seminaries Are in Trouble: Chastened Reflections on theCentennial of Bethany Theological Seminary.

13. Ordinary Time: A Tribute to Rowan Williams.


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