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The Hauerwas Reader

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Overview

Stanley Hauerwas is one of the most widely read and oft-cited theologians writing today. A prolific lecturer and author, he has been at the forefront of key developments in contemporary theology, ranging from narrative theology to the “recovery of virtue.” Yet despite his prominence and the esteem reserved for his thought, his work has never before been collected in a single volume that provides a sense of the totality of his vision.
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Overview

Stanley Hauerwas is one of the most widely read and oft-cited theologians writing today. A prolific lecturer and author, he has been at the forefront of key developments in contemporary theology, ranging from narrative theology to the “recovery of virtue.” Yet despite his prominence and the esteem reserved for his thought, his work has never before been collected in a single volume that provides a sense of the totality of his vision.
The editors of The Hauerwas Reader, therefore, have compiled and edited a volume that represents all the different periods and phases of Hauerwas’s work. Highlighting both his constructive goals and penchant for polemic, the collection reflects the enormous variety of subjects he has engaged, the different genres in which he has written, and the diverse audiences he has addressed. It offers Hauerwas on ethics, virtue, medicine, and suffering; on euthanasia, abortion, and sexuality; and on war in relation to Catholic and Protestant thought. His essays on the role of religion in liberal democracies, the place of the family in capitalist societies, the inseparability of Christianity and Judaism, and on many other topics are included as well.
Perhaps more than any other author writing on religious topics today, Hauerwas speaks across lines of religious traditions, appealing to Methodists, Jews, Anabaptists or Mennonites, Catholics, Episcopalians, and others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Hauerwas Reader is of specific importance for the ethical discourses in the European context. Hauerwas forcefully presents a church-oriented social ethics in ways that help to rediscover the critical impact of a forgotten tradition on mainstream protestant ethics. Because of his innovative theological revision of the moral issues in the ethical discourse of our present time, the serious engagement of Hauerwas’s work is a must for European ethicists.”—Hans G. Ulrich, Institut für Systematische Theologie, University Erlangen-Nuernberg

“Covering a range of ethical concerns from healthcare to warfare, these essays show again how Stanley Hauerwas brings together Evangelical and Catholic foundations for an ethics based on faith. The articles ring true, which is to say they speak first of Christ and only then of life in Him.”—Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago

“For decades now Stanley Hauerwas has been the most eloquent voice proclaiming the morality of particularism and the immorality of universalism. In a liberal culture that voice is heard as both alien and unreasonable, accusations Hauerwas no doubt cherishes.”—Stanley Fish, author of The Trouble with Principle

“For many years Stanley Hauerwas has been lobbing peaceable bombs into the moral theologians’ playground, awakening them from their undogmatic slumbers to the importance of truthful action. The best of these bombs are here, in a wonderful arsenal of Hauerwas’s essays. Beware! Hauerwas is always challenging, provocative, illuminating, exasperating, disturbing, and fresh.”—Duncan Forrester, New College, The University of Edinburgh

“If Kierkegaard knew Hauerwas, he would have seen that it is possible, after all, for one person to be a close friend of Jesus and of Socrates‚ at the same time. On behalf of all of us in the Abrahamite traditions, Hauerwas cracks open modern society’s lazy moral speech and lets us see, lying neglected inside it, God’s commanding word. In this way, he helps clear a space in contemporary America for Jews, and I trust Muslims, as well as Christians to narrate their stories of what God wants of us. If you don’t know Hauerwas yet, this fine collection is the way to begin, along with its wonderful introductions and guides to Hauerwas‚ work. If you do know him, well, then, you already know that each reading and re-reading will bring surprises. And blessings.”—Peter Ochs, Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia

“If you don’t know Hauerwas yet, this fine collection is the way to begin, along with its wonderful introductions and guides to Hauerwas’s work. If you do know him, well, then, you already know that each reading and re-reading will bring surprises. And blessings.”—Peter Ochs, Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia

“It would be hard to overestimate the value of Stanley Hauerwas’s contributions to theological conversation and religious life in today’s world. Alternately brilliant and exasperating, his work is indispensable in helping us find our way in a dark time. This wonderful reader is the best introduction to Hauerwas currently available.”—Robert N. Bellah, coauthor of Habits of the Heart

“Stanley Hauerwas challenges, informs, provokes, and inspires anyone who reflects seriously on faith and life. The Hauerwas Reader is an invitation to accompany one of today’s most provocative and creative thinkers on a transforming theological journey beyond our comfortable idolatries.”—Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, Mississippi Episcopal Area, The United Methodist Church

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822326915
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 8/29/2001
  • Pages: 752
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Divinity and Professor of Law at Duke University. In addition to having published over three hundred scholarly articles to date, he is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy, and Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics.

John Berkman is Assistant Professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America. Michael G. Cartwright is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis.

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Divinity and Professor of Law at Duke University. In addition to having published over three hundred scholarly articles to date, he is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy, and Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics.

John Berkman is Assistant Professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America. Michael G. Cartwright is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis.

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Read an Excerpt

The Hauerwas reader


By Stanley Hauerwas

Duke University


ISBN: 0-8223-2691-4


Chapter One

How "Christian Ethics" Came to Be (1997)

This essay provides the fullest account of how Hauerwas understands Christian ethics to have evolved as a discipline in relation to the practices of the Christian faith. After tracing developments from patristic writers Tertullian and Augustine, through the rise of medieval penitential manuals, to Aquinas and Luther, the essay explores how Christian ethics came to be seen as a problem in the context of the intellectual ferment of the Enlightenment. Hauerwas engages issues that emerged in the work of Kant, were given systematic theological expression in the writings of Schleiermacher, and received their strongest critique in Barth's Church Dogmatics. For Hauerwas, like Barth, theological ethics proceeds from the first-order discourse (doctrine) of the Christian faith. Therefore, ethics is a part of the theological task, and Christian theology is first and foremost an activity of the church.

The notion of Christian ethics is a modern invention. At one time Christian ethics did not exist. That does not mean that Christians did not think about how best to live their lives as Christians. There are obvious examples of such reflection in the New Testament as well as in the Church Fathers. That may well put the matter too lamely just to the extent that the New Testament and the early Christian theologians thought about little elsethan how Christians were to live their lives. For the ancients, pagan and Christian, to be schooled in philosophy or theology meant to submit one's life to a master in order to gain the virtues necessary to be a philosopher or a Christian. Ethics, in such a context, was not some "aspect" of life, but rather inclusive of all that constituted a person's life.

That we do not find explicit treatises on Christian ethics in Scripture or in the work of the Patristic writers does not mean they were unconcerned with giving direction to the church. They simply did not distinguish between theology and pastoral direction as we now do. Tertullian's On Patience may well have been the first treatise by a Christian on what we think of as a specifically moral topic, but there is no indication that he would have understood this treatise to be anything substantially different from his other theological and pastoral work. Augustine did the most to shape what would later be thought of as Christian ethics. In his On the Morals of the Catholic Church, he suggested that the fourfold division of the virtues familiar to pagan philosophers could rightly be understood only as forms of love whose object is God. Thus, "Temperance is love keeping itself entire and incorrupt for God; fortitude is love bearing everything readily for the sake of God; justice is love serving God only, and therefore ruling well all else, as subject to man; prudence is love making a right distinction between what helps it towards God and what might hinder it."

Augustine's conflict with the Pelagians resulted in a particularly rich set of treatises dealing with topics such as grace and free will, but also marriage and concupiscence. Equally important is Augustine's City of God, in which he narrates all of human history as a conflict between the earthly and heavenly cities. The earthly city knows not God and is thus characterized by order secured only through violence. In contrast, the heavenly city worships the one true God, making possible the collection of "a society of aliens, speaking all languages. She takes no account of any difference in customs, laws, and institutions, by which earthly peace is achieved and preserved-not that she annuls or abolishes any of those, rather, she maintains them and follows them, provided that no hindrance is presented thereby to the religion which teaches that the one supreme and true God is to be worshiped." How to understand the relation between the two cities becomes the central issue for the development of what comes to be called Christian social ethics.

The Church Fathers and Augustine did much to shape the way Christians think about Christian living, but equally, if not more important, is the development of the penitential tradition. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul had insisted that the Corinthians were to "root out the evil-doer from the community," but the question remained whether such an evildoer should be received back into the community after due repentance. This issue was not resolved until the Council of Nicaea in 325. Nicaea set a policy for the readmission of those excommunicated after appropriate periods of penance. This was particularly significant since often the sin they had committed had been apostasy during times of persecution. Sins involving idolatry, adultery, and/or homicide all required public penance which was quite onerous and available only once in a person's life.

A major development occurred in this tradition largely by accident. Drawing on the monastic practice of spiritual direction of one monk by another, there developed in Ireland the practice of private confession to a priest with forgiveness of sins offered after appropriate penance. This practice resulted in the development of books called Penitentials that were meant as aids to confessors so that the appropriate penance would be given for the corresponding sin. Their organization was quite varied with little or no attempt at theological rationale. For example, The Penitential of Theodore stipulated the following with regard to avarice:

1. If any layman carries off a monk from the monastery by stealth, he shall either enter a monastery to serve God or subject himself to human servitude.

2. Money stolen or robbed from churches is to be restored fourfold; from secular persons, twofold.

Penitentials differed markedly from one another, indicating different Christian practices at different times and places.

These books were carried by Irish missionaries across Europe and soon became the rule throughout Christendom. Though they were not explicitly theological, they depended on the continuing presumption that the church through baptism was to be a holy community. They were no doubt open to great misuse, but they also became the way the church grappled with the complexity of Christian behavior through the development of casuistry, that is, close attention to particular cases. From these beginnings there developed as part of the church's theological mission a special task called moral theology. Under the guidance of Pope Gregory VII the church's practice concerning moral questions was made more uniform through canon law and the development of Summae Confessorum. The latter were pastoral handbooks that gave theological order to the Penitentials so that priests might be given guidance in the administration of what had become the sacrament of penance.

Thus a clear tradition was established in the Penitentials, in canon law, and in the Summae Confessorum in which ethics was distinguished from theology and doctrine. There was, moreover, specialist training for each of these tasks, as canon lawyers, moral theologians, and theologians were given distinctive training for their different roles. However, these diverse tasks were, in fact, one insofar as their intelligibility depended on the practices of the church. Ethics was not something done in distinction from theology, since both theology and moral theology presumed baptism, penance, preaching, and Eucharist as essential for the corporate life of the church.

Perhaps nowhere is this inseparable unity between the ethical and the theological dimensions of Christian living better exemplified than in the great Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Though often characterized as a defender of "natural theology," Aquinas's Summa is first and foremost a work in Christian theology. The structure of Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles, as well as the Summa Theologica, draws upon the image of God as artist, such that all created realities are depicted as exiting and returning to God. In other words, Aquinas's great works evince a three-part structure. The story of creation begins in divine freedom; then Aquinas treats how all creation, and in particular that part of creation called human, returns to God; finally, in the third part he provides an account of the means of creation's return to God through Christ and the sacraments. The Summa, rather than being an argument for the independence of ethics, as it is sometimes characterized, is concerned to place the Christian's journey to God squarely within the doctrine of God.

Indeed, it has been argued that one of Aquinas's main purposes in writing the Summa was for the sake of the second part, which treats moral matters more specifically and directly. Aquinas thought the manuals far too haphazard in their presentation of the Christian moral life. He therefore sought to place the discussion of morality in the context of a consideration of human nature and the virtues appropriate to our nature as creatures whose destiny was nothing less than to be friends with God. Drawing deeply on Aristotle's account of the virtues, Aquinas nonetheless argued that even the so-called natural virtues must be formed by charity if they are to be capable of directing us to God.

Aquinas's intentions, however, were subverted as it was not long before the secunda pars, the second part, was abstracted from its context in the Summa and used as if it stood on its own. This kind of anthologizing in part accounts for the presumption by later commentators that law, and in particular natural law, stands at the center of Aquinas's account. Yet Aquinas's understanding of the moral life is one that assumes the primacy of the virtues for the shape of the Christian life. Aquinas's work was either misunderstood or ignored through subsequent centuries, even to the point that he was used to support positions almost diametrically opposed to his own views.

The developments of the late Middle Ages are not unimportant, but in many ways they are now lost due to the profound effect the Reformation had for shaping how Protestant and Catholic alike began to think about the Christian life. It is not as if Luther and Calvin in their own work mark an entirely new way for thinking about the Christian life, but certainly the forces they unleashed changed everything. Neither Luther nor Calvin distinguished between theology and ethics. Certainly Luther stressed the "external" character of our justification, yet in The Freedom of a Christian he equally maintained that "a Christian, like Christ his head, is filled and made rich by faith and should be content with this form of God which he has obtained by faith; only he should increase this faith until it is made perfect. For this faith is his life, his righteousness, and his salvation: it saves him and makes him acceptable, and bestows upon him all things that are Christ's."

Yet the polemical terms of the Reformation could not help but reshape how ethics was conceived in relation to theology. Faith, not works, determines the Christian's relationship to God. Moreover works became associated with "ethics," particularly as ethics was alleged to be the way sinners attempt to secure their standing before God as a means to avoid complete dependence on God's grace. So for Protestants the Christian life is now characterized in such a way that there always exists a tension between law and grace. The law is needed, but we can never attain salvation through the law and the works of the law. A similar tension constitutes the Lutheran understanding of the Christian's relation to what is now known as the "orders of creation," that is, marriage, the legal order, the state. Christians are called to love their neighbor through submission to such orders, recognizing that such service is not and cannot be that promised in the order of redemption.

Calvin, and in particular later developments in Calvinism, were not as determined by the polemical context of the Lutheran reformation. However, justification by faith is no less central for Calvin, who equally insists that "actual holiness of life is not separated from free imputation of righteousness." Accordingly, Calvinists stressed the importance of the sanctification of the Christian and the Christian community. Christians were expected to examine their lives daily so they might grow into holiness. This theme was retained in the Anglican tradition and was given particularly strong emphasis in the Wesleyan revival in England as well as other forms of Pietism.

Certainly the Protestant Reformation changed the language for how Christians understood "ethics," but far more important were changes in the ways Christians related to their world. In earlier centuries, the Christian understanding of life could be articulated in the language of natural law, but it was assumed that natural law was only intelligible as part of divine law as mediated by the church. What was lost after the Reformation was exactly this understanding of the church as the indispensable context in which order might be given to the Christian life. For example, with the loss of the rite of penance in Protestantism casuistry as an activity of moral theologians was lost. Such a loss did not seem to be a problem as long as it was assumed that everyone "knew" what it meant to be Christian. However, as it became less and less clear among Protestants what it "means" to be Christian there have increasingly been attempts to "do" ethics. The difficulty is that no consensus about what ethics is or how it should be done existed. As a result, theologians often turned to philosophy for resources in their search for an ethic-resources that ironically helped create the problem of how to relate theology and ethics because now it was assumed that "ethics" is an autonomous discipline that is no longer dependent on religious conviction.

How Ethics Became a Problem in Modernity

The birth of modernity is coincident with the beginnings of "ethics" understood as a distinguishable sphere or realm of human life. Faced with the knowledge of the diversity of moral convictions, modern people think of themselves as haunted by the problem of relativism. If our "ethics" are relative to time and place, what if anything prevents our moral opinions from being "conventional"? And if they are conventional, some assume they must also be "arbitrary." But if our morality is conventional, how can we ever expect to secure agreements between people who disagree? Is it our fate to be perpetually at war with one another? "Ethics" becomes that quest to secure a rational basis for morality so we can be confident that our moral convictions are not arbitrary.

The great name associated with this quest is Immanuel Kant. Kant sought to secure knowledge and morality from the skepticism that the Enlightenment, by its attempt to free all thought from its indebtedness to the past, had produced. Kant also wanted thought to be free from the past; thus his famous declaration: "Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another."

Kant's commitment to this Enlightenment ideal was his response to the breakdown of the Christian world. If ethics depended on or was derived from religious belief, then there seemed to be no way to avoid the continuing conflict, as heirs of the Reformation, between Catholics and Protestants. Accordingly, Kant sought to ground ethics in reason itself, since, in Kant's words, "It is there I discover that what I do can only be unconditionally good to the extent I can will what I have done as a universal law." Kant called this principle the "Categorical Imperative" because it has the form "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Hauerwas reader by Stanley Hauerwas Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
Pt. I Editorial Introductions
An Introduction to The Hauerwas Reader 3
Stan the Man: A Thoroughly Biased Account of a Completely Unobjective Person 17
Pt. II Reframing Theological Ethics
1 How "Christian Ethics" Came to Be (1997) 37
2 On Keeping Theological Ethics Theological (1983) 51
3 A Retrospective Assessment of an "Ethics of Character": The Development of Hauerwas's Theological Project (1985,2001) 75
4 Why the "Sectarian Temptation" Is a Misrepresentation: A Response to James Gustafson (1988) 90
5 Reforming Christian Social Ethics: Ten Theses (1981) 111
6 Jesus and the Social Embodiment of the Peaceable Kingdom (1983) 116
7 The Church as God's New Language (1986) 142
8 Vision, Stories, and Character (1973, 2001) 165
9 A Story-Formed Community: Reflections on Watership Down (1981) 171
10 Self-Deception and Autobiography: Reflections on Speer's Inside the Third Reich, With David B. Burrell (1974) 200
11 Character, Narrative, and Growth in the Christian Life (1980) 221
12 The Interpretation of Scripture: Why Discipleship Is Required (1993) 255
13 Casuistry in Context: The Need for Tradition (1995) 267
14 Courage Exemplified, with Charles Pinches (1993) 287
15 Why Truthfulness Requires Forgiveness: A Commencement Address for Graduates of a College of the Church of the Second Chance (1992) 307
16 Peacemaking: The Virtue of the Church (1985) 318
17 Remembering as a Moral Task: The Challenge of the Holocaust (1981) 327
18 Practicing Patience: How Christians Should Be Sick, with Charles Pinches (1997) 348
Pt. III New Intersections in Theological Ethics
19 The Servant Community: Christian Social Ethics (1983) 371
20 Should War Be Eliminated? A Thought Experiment (1984) 392
21 On Being a Church Capable of Addressing a World at War: A Pacifist Response to the United Methodist Bishops' Pastoral In Defense of Creation (1988) 426
22 A Christian Critique of Christian America (1986) 459
23 Sex in Public: How Adventurous Christians Are Doing It (1978) 481
24 The Radical Hope in the Annunciation: Why Both Single and Married Christians Welcome Children (1998) 505
25 Why Gays (as a Group) Are Morally Superior to Christians (as a Group) (1993) 519
26 Christianity: It's Not a Religion, It's an Adventure (1991) 522
27 Salvation and Health: Why Medicine Needs the Church (1985) 539
28 Should Suffering Be Eliminated? What the Retarded Have to Teach Us (1984) 556
29 Memory, Community, and the Reasons for Living: Reflections on Suicide and Euthanasia, with Richard Bondi (1976) 577
30 Must a Patient Be a Person to Be a Patient? Or, My Uncle Charlie Is Not Much of a Person, But He Is Still My Uncle Charlie (1975) 596
31 Abortion, Theologically Understood (1991) 603
Stanley Hauerwas's Essays in Theological Ethics: A Reader's Guide 623
Selected Annotated Bibliography 673
Scripture References
Name Index
Subject Index
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