Working: Its Meaning and Its Limits / Edition 1

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The wide range of readings in Working: Its Meaning and Its Limits proposes different ways of thinking about something most of us do every day-work. As part of the Ethics of Everyday Life series, these readings are an invitation to reflection and conversation. They focus not on rules for the workplace or on dilemmas in business ethics but on one of the most fundamental aspects of human existence in every time and place.

Gilbert C. Meilaender presents varied readings that explore many of the ways in which human beings have thought about the role of work in life-its meanings, its limits, and its relation to other obligations, to the life cycle, to play, and to rest. The readings in this volume range in time from the world of ancient Israel and the classical world of Greece and Rome to contemporary American society. They range in complexity from "The Little Red Hen' to philosophers such as Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre, and in genre from poetry by Kipling and George Herbert to essays by Dorothy Sayers and Roger Angell; from Tolstoy and Twain to Marx, Aristotle, and Karl Barth-all placed in the context of an extended discussion of the meaning of work in human life by Meilaender's introduction.

Working: Its Meaning and Its Limits enables any reader interested in understanding the moral and spiritual significance of work in our lives to enter into a conversation not only about what we do but who we are.

About the Author:

Gilbert C. Meilaender holds the Board of Directors Chair in Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University and is the author of Body, Soul, and Bioethics (Notre Dame Press, 1995) and Bioethics: A Primer for Christians (1996).

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What People Are Saying

Jean Bethke Elshtain
Meilaender is a writer of elegance and power; a thinker of subtlety and grace. He reminds us of the compelling and continuing force of Scriptural and theological understandings of work. Most importantly, in a time when work dominates so much of our lives-or busyness does, at any rate-he asks us, through his commentary and selections, to ponder the meaning and role of work in our lives and to assess work within a wider framework of God's creation and purpose for us.
— (Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago)
William F. May
Who could have put together a quilt of passages as diverse and imaginatively patterned as the selections Gilbert Meilaender has chosen-from Marx to Mark Twain-for this anthology on working? W. H. Auden perhaps. Gilbert Meilaender has also favored us with a wise and elegantly written introduction to a volume that should enrich personal reflection and stimulate classroom and public discussion.
3 (William F. May, Cary M. Maguire Professor of Ethics, Southern Methodist University)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268019624
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Ethics of Everyday Life Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 969,808
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I The Meanings of Work
A Work as Co-Creation 25
1 Genesis 1:26-31 27
2 Work 28
3 The Grundrisse 29
4 The German Ideology 30
5 Anna Karenina 31
6 "When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted" 42
7 "Why Work?" 43
8 "The Sign of Four" 47
B Work as Necessary for Leisure 49
1 Work and Days 51
2 Nicomachean Ethics 55
3 The Politics 59
4 Oeconomicus 60
5 "Leisure and Its Threefold Opposition" 61
6 "Buttons and Trash" 64
7 "Waiting for the Weekend" 66
C Work as Dignified but Irksome 69
1 Genesis 3:8-19 71
2 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12 72
3 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 72
4 Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era 73
5 The Little Red Hen 74
6 The Blithedale Romance 76
7 "The Village Blacksmith" 82
8 The Crown of Wild Olive 84
9 An Autobiography 85
10 The Road to Wigan Pier 90
11 The Ethics of Freedom 99
D Work as Vocation 104
1 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 106
2 Institutes of the Christian Religion 107
3 "A Treatise of the Vocations or Callings of men, with sorts and kinds of them, and the right use thereof" 108
4 "The Elixir" 115
5 "Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go" 116
6 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 117
7 "The Three Best Things - I: Work" 118
8 Sources of the Self 119
9 Business as a Calling 124
II The Limits of Work
A Rhythms of Life 127
1 Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 129
2 "On the Shortness of Life" 130
3 City of God 132
4 Church Dogmatics 133
5 Radio Address 135
6 Gift from the Sea 136
7 "Getting Sleepy" 138
8 Parents Forever 141
B Play 143
1 Henry IV, Part I 145
2 The Crown of Wild Olive 146
3 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 147
4 Homo Faber 152
5 Men at Work 155
6 "Goodbye Tom" 157
7 "One Hard Way to Make a Living" 158
8 "Waiting for the Weekend" 159
C Personal Bonds 160
1 "Work: The Great Escape" 161
2 The Death of Ivan Ilyich 165
3 Common Courtesy 171
4 The Physician's Covenant 177
5 Parents Forever 180
6 "Lost in Work" 185
D Historical Transformations 188
1 Business as a Calling 189
2 "The Age of Social Transformation" 193
3 Business as a Calling 204
4 The Corrosion of Character 208
5 After Virtue 214
6 "Are Average Americans Really Overworked?" 228
III Rest
1 Genesis 2:1-3 233
2 Exodus 16:1-30 234
3 Exodus 20:8-11 235
4 Psalm 95:8-11 236
5 Luke 10:25-42 237
6 "The Parson in Circuit" 238
7 "Leisure and Its Threefold Opposition" 240
8 The Vision of God 242
9 Spheres of Justice 248
10 "Observing the Sabbath" 255
11 The Sabbath 261
12 Prayer at the Close of Day 268
Credits 269
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