Stanley Hauerwas: A Community of Character. Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic.

This is the first book where all the central Hauerwasian themes are more or less in place. It is also the first book I would not hesitate to call a modern classic. In many ways it could be considered the more scholarly and theologically complex older sibling of A Peaceable Kingdom, which, after all, is supposed to be a textbook.

Hauerwas here deepens his view of narrative, and the themes of church and the liberal state are treated thoroughly for the first time. The book opens with what I think is Hauerwas best text, hands down, ”A Story Formed Community: Reflection on Watership Down” Ok, so I do love the novel it discusses, but it is extremely well written. I have used it in class several times and it always opens up discussion extremely well.

Many of the texts here are found in the Reader as well, but it still has a value as a whole, as this is the book that perhaps best reflects Hauerwas’s postion in its early form. Especially the themes of marriage, sex and family, as well as abortion, get their most thorough treatments here. The discussion of these questions (that usually are considered ”private”) serve to demonstrate the public nature of Christian convictions.

Contents:

  1. A Story Formed Community: Reflection on Watership Down
  2. Jesus: The Story of the Kingdom
  3. The Moral Authority of Scripture: The Politics and Ethics of Remembering
  4. The Church and Liberal Democracy: The Moral Limits of a Secular Polity
  5. The Church in a Divided World: The Interpretative Power of the Christian Story
  6. The Virtues and Our Communities: Human Nature as History
  7. Character, Narrative and Growth in the Christian Life
  8. The Moral Value of the Family
  9. The Family: Theological and Ethical Reflections
  10. Sex in Public: Toward a Christian Ethic of Sex
  11. Why Abortion Is a Religious Issue
  12. Abortion: Why the Arguments Fail

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