Stanley Hauerwas: Truthfullness and Tragedy: Further Investigations in Christian Ethics

By this third book, in 1977, most of the Hauerwasian themes have started to appear and the form of the book is established. We get a some methodological articles, dealing mostly with ”story” as an ethical concept, some that deal with standard ethical questions (euthanasia, suicide, lots of medical ethics) and some that does not fit in under any theme, such as ”The Politics of Charity” which is essentially a reading of Luke’s gospel. There is also an essay that is important for understandinga Hauerwas’s take on medicine: ”Medicine as a tragic profession”.We also get the first of many, many ”Introductions” where Hauerwas tries to tell us what he really thinks. As I said several times, these are important texts for anyone who wants to trace the development of his thought.

”Gift” is a theme that occurs often here – it continues to do so throughout Hauerwas’s writings, but this book might be a good place to start if one wants to study this theme.

It is a thick book, 250 tightly written pages, clearly from a time when it still was not sure that there would be another book out next year. In fact it would four years before A Community of Character was published.


  1. From System to Story: An Alternative Pattern for Rationality in Ethics
  2. Obligation and Virtue Once More
  3. Natural Law, Tragedy and Theological Ethics
  4. Story and Theology
  5. Self-Deception and Autobiography: Reflections on Speer’s Inside the Third Reich
  6. Memory, Community and the Reasons for Living: Reflections on Suicide and Euthanasia
  7. The Moral Limitis of Population Control
  8. 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
  9. The Politics of Charity
  10. Having and Learning to Care for Retarded Children
  11. The Retarded and the Criteria for the Human
  12. Suffering, Medical Ethics and the Retarded Child
  13. The Demands and Limits of Care: On the Moral Dilemma of Neonatal Intensive Care
  14. Medicine as a Tragic Profession


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