Stanley Hauerwas: Vision and Virtue. Essays in Christian Ethical Reflection.

I have brought these essays together in the hope that they will prove to be useful for classes in Christian ethics. These essays develop a perspective that has been sadly lacking in much of recent Christian ethics. I wish, however, to make no exaggerated claims for the importance of this book as it is incomplete in many ways.

Thus the first book published by Hauerwas in 1974 begins, and almost 40 years later one can see that he has stayed true to the sentiment presented here – by continuing to develop that perspective little by little.

The essays are placed under three headings: Theoretical and Methodological Issues, The New Morality and Normative Ethics, and Vision and Society. Under the first heading Hauerwas discusses themes like Vision (this is the Murdoch phase), ethics of Character, and the narrative notion of the self, further developed later on in his writings.

The second heading treats themes like abortion and euthanasia, as well as the care of the ”retarded” (sic – this is 1974). The final part relates to politics and introduces the name John Howard Yoder.

The early stuff, then. Probably of interest mostly to Hauerwas scholars, for whom especially the first part may be illuminating. And of course, it is interesting to observe a great theologian in the process of finding his voice. For example, in the essay on letting die, Hauerwas uses an uncharacteristical amount of space to reviewing medical data, before finally delivering this very Hauerwasian notion: ”Death is, then, to be feared. On the other hand, the proper fear of death can be perverted, especially if it takes the form of the ideology of the absoluteness of life”.

Contents

  1. Situation Ethics, Moral Notions and Moral Theology
  2. The Significance of Vision: Toward an Aesthetic Ethic
  3. Toward an Ethics of Character
  4. The Self as Story: A Reconsideration of the Relation of Religion and Morality from the Agent’s Perspective
  5. Aslan and the New Morality
  6. Love’s Not All You Need
  7. Abortion and Normative Ethics
  8. Abortion: the Agent’s Perspective
  9. The Ethics of Death: Letting Die of Putting to Death?
  10. The Christian, Society and the Weak: A Meditation on the Care of the Retarded
  11. The Nonresistant Church: The Theological Ethics of John Howard Yoder
  12. Politics, Vision, and the Common Good
  13. Theology and the New American Culture

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