The Fabric of This World: Inquiries into Calling, Career Choice, and the Design of Human Work

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An in-depth historical, philosophical, theological—and practical—exploration of work from an evangelical perspective. Hardy discusses several historical views of work from the ancient Greeks onward, highlighting the Christian concept of vocation as articulated by Luther and Calvin; these expositions lead to practical applications regarding the personal issue of career choice and the important (but often neglected) social issue of job design.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Hardy looks creatively at the meaning of work according to Greek, medieval, Renaissance, Marxian, and Freudian perspectives, then at Luther's view and subsequent Calvinist development and modification, concluding with contemporary Roman Catholic convergence. The second half of the book applies the theory to personal career choice and social job design; it then reviews seven management theories and ends with perceptive remarks about combining people-oriented choices and profit choices. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802802989
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/4/1990
  • Pages: 231
  • Sales rank: 456,036
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Table of Contents


  1. PART ONE: Expositions

  2. Work: Divine Prerogative or the Burden of the Beast?
  3. The Greek Solution
    The Medieval Continuation
    The Renaissance Reversal
    Marx: Self-Realization Through Work
    Freud: Work as a Form of Self-Denial
    Summary and Transition: The Promise of the Concept of Vocation

  4. Our Work, God's Providence: The Christian Concept of Vocation
  5. Luther: God's Providential Presence in the Work of our Hands
    The Calvinist Elaboration: Work and the Organic Structure of Social Life
    The Calvinist Modification: The Call to Reform Fallen Structures
    Ecumenical Convergence: The Contemporary Catholic Position

    PART TWO: Applications

  6. Work, Life, and Vocational Choice: Investing Yourself in the Divine Economy
  7. Making the Match: Career Choice
    Finding the Fit: Job Placement
    Changing the System: Conflict and Strategy
    Balancing Commitments: Work and Vocation
    Reformed Monasticism: The Work of Prayer
    Summary and Transition: From Career Choice to Job Design

  8. The Shaping of Human Work: Management Theory and Job Design
  9. Frederick W. Taylor: The Imposition of Science and the Brutalization of Work
    Elton Mayo: The Hawthorne Experiment and the Discovery of the Human Dimension of Work
    Chris Argyris: Conflicts Between Organizational Structure and Human Self-Realization
    Frederick Herzberg: Human Needs, Motivation and Hygiene
    Douglas McGregor: Theory X, Theory Y, and Management by Integration
    Peter F. Drucker: Respect for Persons, Management by Objectives, and Responsible Work
    Robert Levering: The Ethics of Trust and the Politics of Fair Play in Great Workplaces
    The Bottom Line: Must We Choose Between People and Profits?
    Live Options for Job Design: Restoring a Sense of Vocation to Work

Index of Names
Index of Subjects

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