With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology

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Overview

"In its animated conversations with William James, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Karl Barth and in its constructive proposals, this book makes for fine reading and ought to stir up some new and serious debate about what the church's confession has to say about natural reality."
--John Webster, Oxford University

"In Hauerwas's fresh interpretation of American intellectual history, Niebuhr, the neo-orthodox theologian, appears not as the Christian alternative to James's pragmatism, but a thin religious version of the same,...

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With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology

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Overview

"In its animated conversations with William James, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Karl Barth and in its constructive proposals, this book makes for fine reading and ought to stir up some new and serious debate about what the church's confession has to say about natural reality."
--John Webster, Oxford University

"In Hauerwas's fresh interpretation of American intellectual history, Niebuhr, the neo-orthodox theologian, appears not as the Christian alternative to James's pragmatism, but a thin religious version of the same, packaged in the vocabulary of Christian theology. Against this backdrop, Hauerwas draws on Karl Barth to set forth a 'theology without reservation' that takes modernity seriously but meets it not on modernity's terms but on the church's terms as witnessed by Christian thinkers such as John Howard Yoder and John Paul II. This is a book we have long awaited; Hauerwas's account of what went wrong and what went right with theology in the twentieth century. With the Grain of the Universe is Hauerwas in full sail."
--Robert Louis Wilken, University of Virginia

"A highly original approach to natural theology. Through imaginative and often provocative arguments, Hauerwas challenges and often inverts many conventional assumptions in Christian theology and ethics. . . . Anyone broadly conversant with Christian theology . . . will be richly stimulated by one of the leading theologians writing today."
--America

"[This book] is a disassembled paradox; the magic box of Hauerwasian style is here broken open, its parts laid out before us in an exploded diagram. The effect is simultaneously impressive--one sees more clearly than ever how much learning is needed to produce Hauerwas' insights--and a bit disenchanting: I'm not sure I want to know how the magician does it. But no one reading this book can say Hauerwas hasn't done his homework. . . . [A] powerful and important book."
--Alan Jacobs, Books & Culture

With the Grain of the Universe was a Christianity Today 2002 Book Award Winner. This edition includes a new afterword that sets the book in contemporary context and responds to critics.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Those invited to give the Gifford Lectures in natural theology, offered annually at Saint Andrew's University, Scotland, generally avoid presenting anything denominationally based. In the 2001 lectures, transcribed here with copious footnotes, Hauerwas (theological ethics, Duke Univ.; Resident Aliens) consciously disregarded that practice. He instead treats the Christian, Trinitarian God by considering the philosophies of four previous Gifford lecturers: William James, Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Hauerwas views the theologies of James and Niebuhr as lacking the full doctrine of God and considers Barth's theology to be a better representative of what theology should be, i.e., the recognition that God can only fully be known as he reveals himself through Jesus. Hauerwas's more traditional Christian view will certainly not be accepted by everyone, but it is a well-reasoned argument. Recommended for seminary and larger public libraries. Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801048982
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/15/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 822,915
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley Hauerwas (PhD, Yale University) is chair in theological ethics at the School of Divinity, History, and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He previously taught at Duke University. He is the author of numerous books, including Cross-Shattered Christ, A Cross-Shattered Church, War and the American Difference, and Matthew in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible.
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Table of Contents

Contents
1. God and the Gifford Lectures
2. The Faith of William James
3. God and William James
4. The Liberalism of Reinhold Niebuhr
5. Reinhold Niebuhr's Natural Theology
6. The Witness That Was Karl Barth
7. The Witness of the Church Dogmatics
8. The Necessity of Witness
Afterword
Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    Witness!

    This is the first of Hauerwas's books I've read. It was intellectually challenging and well-reasoned. More importantly, though, it challenged me to try to be a better, more faithful witness in the world to what our active, Creator God has done for us in Jesus of Nazereth. My only complaint is that the author's concluding charge seemed to come out of nowhere and focus not on the church--even though I agreed with his suggestions for dialogue within the university setting.

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