The Hauerwas Reader

The Hauerwas Reader

Book Pages: 752 Illustrations: Published: July 2001

Religious Studies, Theory and Philosophy

Stanley Hauerwas is one of the most widely read and oft-cited theologians writing today. A prolific lecturer and author, he has been at the forefront of key developments in contemporary theology, ranging from narrative theology to the “recovery of virtue.” Yet despite his prominence and the esteem reserved for his thought, his work has never before been collected in a single volume that provides a sense of the totality of his vision.
The editors of The Hauerwas Reader, therefore, have compiled and edited a volume that represents all the different periods and phases of Hauerwas’s work. Highlighting both his constructive goals and penchant for polemic, the collection reflects the enormous variety of subjects he has engaged, the different genres in which he has written, and the diverse audiences he has addressed. It offers Hauerwas on ethics, virtue, medicine, and suffering; on euthanasia, abortion, and sexuality; and on war in relation to Catholic and Protestant thought. His essays on the role of religion in liberal democracies, the place of the family in capitalist societies, the inseparability of Christianity and Judaism, and on many other topics are included as well.
Perhaps more than any other author writing on religious topics today, Hauerwas speaks across lines of religious traditions, appealing to Methodists, Jews, Anabaptists or Mennonites, Catholics, Episcopalians, and others.


The Hauerwas Reader gives us Hauerwas at his non-systematic best, as a master of the occasional piece reflecting on contemporary debates from the perspective of the church.” — Thomas Hibbs , The Weekly Standard

“[O]ffers all one could hope for in such a volume, including a helpful introduction by John Berkman . . . . Also included is William Cavanaugh’s superb biographical appreciation of the personality in question. . . . Hauerwas’s vision of the church’s role in the world is compelling and challenging, and after reading him, one cannot but wonder if we have become all too respectable.” — Mark E. Gammon, Commonweal

“America’s best Christian theologian!” — Time Magazine

“Critics will say that this is all the Stanley Hauerwas you will ever need, and quite a bit more. Admirers will view it as the first course of a magnificent feast. The collection might have been titled The Essential Hauerwas, in two senses of the term: it captures the gist of the person and enterprise, and understanding Hauerwas is necessary to understanding theological ethics in our time. Hauerwas outrages and instructs, and is almost always worth the bother.” — First Things

“Even people who disagree with Hauerwas will be forced to concede that he writes better than most of his adversaries and that he frequently seems less like a theologian than a prophet calling his fellow Christians to an ethical accounting. . . . [I]nstructive, exasperating, combative, entertaining, and compassionate essays . . . .” — Robert Neralich , Arkansas Democrat Gazette

“Hauerwas . . . is one of the most influential Christian theologians in academe today. . . . Since taking up his current line of work, Mr. Hauerwas has published hundreds of scholarly papers about ethics, narrative, and the postmodern condition. A sturdy wall of them has been mortared together in . . . The Hauerwas Reader. . . . The Reader offers an overview of his development over three decades of theological conversation — Scott McLemee , Chronicle of Higher Education

“This comprehensive collection drawn from the broad-ranging writings of a theological ethicist who is widely read and cited includes essays illustrating Hauerwas’s best-known themes: a stress on narrative theology, the importance of the virtues, a sustained criticism of the liberal attempt to transcend religious traditions and to ground ethics in autonomous reason, and the centrality of the church as the worshipping community in which the character and life of the believer are developed. . . . The usefulness of the collection is greatly enhanced by essays on Stanley Hauerwas the person and on his central ideas.” — P. L. Urban Jr. , Choice

“Whether you have read every one of Hauerwas’s books as they have been released and covered his hundreds of articles – or if you are one who has just now learned of him—this is a collector’s item to have. You will find ideas which will spawn your own creativity toward writing, preaching, or giving moral and ethical advice.” — William M. Tillman Jr. , Review and Expositor

"[U]sers will benefit from a variety of excellent additional features that make The Hauerwas Reader an extremely useful tool and enjoyable to read." — Bernd Wannenwetsch, Modern Theology

"An ambitious project that is well carried out, The Hauerwas Reader attempts to organize the often unsystematic, vast amount of material written by one of the most important ethicists of our time. . . . [A] well-written, balanced, and comprehensive ‘Editorial Introduction.’ . . . The work was intended as an introduction to Hauerwas’s work for seminary and graduate students, and it should turn out to be well suited for that role. It is an outstanding contribution to the field of ethics." — Eric Berg , Religious Studies Review

"Hauerwas is undoubtedly the most intellectually and morally demanding Christian controversialist in the English-speaking world, and the questions he raises are not going to go away."

— Rev. Bonnie Shullenberger , Living Church

"Stanley Hauerwas is a provocative, prolific Christian ethicist. . . .The nature of Hauerwas’s project and the volume of his work make the ‘reader’ format especially welcome. . . . This exceptionally well-organized book makes good use of the ‘reader’ format, such as a selected annotated bibliography and a ‘how to read the author’ essay. . . . [T[his volume will serve its intended audience admirably. I recommend it also for serious study groups. . . ."
— Jeremy M. Bergen , Conrad Grebel Review

"Stanley Hauerwas is an important and timely gift to the Mennonite and the larger Christian church. . . . The Hauerwas Reader is a superbly conceived and edited work. The ediors have carefully chosen thirty-one of Hauerwas’ essays, with suggestions for further, related reading joined to every essay. Furthermore, the editors, former students of Hauerwas, have provided an instructive introduction and reading guide for the essays. Another former student, William Cavanaugh, has provided an entertaining biographical sketch. All in all the anthology is a rich feast of writings by Hauerwas, providing a more than adequate sense of this important theologian in order to assess his work."
— Mark Thiessen Nation , Mennonite Quarterly Review

"Stanley Hauerwas, a theologian and ethicist at Duke Divinity School, needs little introduction to readers of Theology Today. It’s enough to say that mention of his name brings to mind such words as 'prolific’ (dozens of books, hundreds of articles), 'profane’ (his Texas accent and salty language being the stuff of folklore), and 'provocative’ (see the extraordinarily mixed sentiments expressed in the blurbs in the front pages of these books). . . . [W]e have in The Hauerwas Reader not a new work by Hauerwas but a significant re-presentation by some younger scholars of a hefty selection of his essays on Christian ethics. . . . There are at least two reasons for recognizing what is 'good’ about a volume like The Hauerwas Reader, which has so little interest in being 'original.’ First and simplest, as Berkman acknowledges, Hauerwas has been an exceptionally energetic writer, and his capacity to systematize his own work has not kept pace with his output. Second, the durability of even the most brilliant, productive scholar’s legacy depends in no small measure on the kind of shape in which that scholarship is left. In this sense, Berkman, Cartwright, and others who contributed have done a great service ot the study of Christian ethics for present and upcoming generations, by insuring that study of the thought of Stanley Hauerwas will be still more inviting. . . . [I]t is hard to conceive of a work that will prove more serviceable, and of more sustained benefit to the study of Christian ethics, than this one." — David Stewart , Theology Today

"The editors also succeed in providing a text that could serve as an ‘entry way’ into Hauerwas’s theological ethics for graduate students and theologians or be used as an introduction to theological ethics for those with little background, such as undergraduates or seminarians."
— Aristotle Papanikolaou , Journal of Church and State

"The editors have . . . done a splendid job in providing personal and intellectual portraits of Hauerwas. . . . Michael Cartwright is just one of many fine theologians who have studied under Hauerwas, and his splendid ‘Afterword’ is worth the price of the book."
— Stephen H. Webb , Reviews in Religion and Theology

The Hauerwas Reader is of specific importance for the ethical discourses in the European context. Hauerwas forcefully presents a church-oriented social ethics in ways that help to rediscover the critical impact of a forgotten tradition on mainstream protestant ethics. Because of his innovative theological revision of the moral issues in the ethical discourse of our present time, the serious engagement of Hauerwas’s work is a must for European ethicists.” — Hans G. Ulrich, Institut für Systematische Theologie, University Erlangen-Nuernberg

“Covering a range of ethical concerns from healthcare to warfare, these essays show again how Stanley Hauerwas brings together Evangelical and Catholic foundations for an ethics based on faith. The articles ring true, which is to say they speak first of Christ and only then of life in Him.” — Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago

“For decades now Stanley Hauerwas has been the most eloquent voice proclaiming the morality of particularism and the immorality of universalism. In a liberal culture that voice is heard as both alien and unreasonable, accusations Hauerwas no doubt cherishes.” — Stanley Fish, author of The Trouble with Principle

“For many years Stanley Hauerwas has been lobbing peaceable bombs into the moral theologians’ playground, awakening them from their undogmatic slumbers to the importance of truthful action. The best of these bombs are here, in a wonderful arsenal of Hauerwas’s essays. Beware! Hauerwas is always challenging, provocative, illuminating, exasperating, disturbing, and fresh.” — Duncan Forrester, New College, The University of Edinburgh

“If you don’t know Hauerwas yet, this fine collection is the way to begin, along with its wonderful introductions and guides to Hauerwas’s work. If you do know him, well, then, you already know that each reading and re-reading will bring surprises. And blessings.” — Peter Ochs, Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia

“It would be hard to overestimate the value of Stanley Hauerwas’s contributions to theological conversation and religious life in today’s world. Alternately brilliant and exasperating, his work is indispensable in helping us find our way in a dark time. This wonderful reader is the best introduction to Hauerwas currently available.” — Robert N. Bellah, coauthor of Habits of the Heart

“Stanley Hauerwas challenges, informs, provokes, and inspires anyone who reflects seriously on faith and life. The Hauerwas Reader is an invitation to accompany one of today’s most provocative and creative thinkers on a transforming theological journey beyond our comfortable idolatries.” — Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, Mississippi Episcopal Area, The United Methodist Church

“Stanley Hauerwas is the theological ethicist of our times. Those who disagree with him need to know why they do and those who agree, as do I, need his splendid case made clear. This reader, the best of his work, is the way for either sort to come to terms with this American master.” — James W. McClendon, Jr., Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Stanley Hauerwas is an unparalleled force for courage and generative thinking across the spectrum of Christian thought. Sometimes he heals and energizes, sometimes he (deliberately) infuriates. Always he claims attention and redefines the theological task. For his allies as well as his adversaries, the publication of his papers is a welcome resource. It makes available much that is needed for continuing work. Hauerwas draws us into the contemporary theological emergency and points us in fresh ways through it.”— — Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“Stanley Hauerwas is the most prolific and provocative theological ethicist writing in the U.S. I dissent strongly from many, perhaps most, of his conclusions. His arguments and scholarship often strike me as unsound. It is not easy to know whether he is raising or lowering the standards of debate over the ethical significance of Christian commitments. But Hauerwas is too important to be ignored. This volume puts a representative sample of his most interesting and challenging writings between the covers of a single book. The next time I teach my introductory course on Christian ethics, it will be required reading.”— — Jeffrey Stout, Princeton University

“Texans and Christians are troublesome. At odds with enlightened liberal cosmopolitan pretensions, they embrace particularity. One cannot deduce either Texas or Christianity from reason or from human nature. Hauerwas as a Texan Christian has for three decades reminded us forcefully of the importance of taking the troublesome particularity of Christianity seriously. These essays provoke, engage, and instruct. They are a superb selection from the work of one of the most important theologians of our time. Everyone, whether Christian or non-Christian, believer or atheist, should read these essays; they are key to understanding the religious, moral, and metaphysical struggles of our age.” — H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine

“The editors have made a happy and extensive selection from the mercurial essayist-theologian, which allows us to come to grips with his thought on a broad front. Stanley Hauerwas could not and would not accommodate himself to the ponderous demands of a Systematic Ethics; but if we think that we can see here a possible shape for that impossible book, it is a measure of how closely the editors have come to their author and discerned the ordered structures of his apparently disorderly mind. If somebody asks you why this man has been important to the moral thinking of a generation, thrust this collection at him. Then he will understand.” — The Reverend Oliver O’Donovan, Canon of Christ Church

“The God met through the Jewish and Christian scriptures is always good but rarely safe. No other living theologian—and not many throughout history—has grasped that truth more excitingly than Stanley Hauerwas. This invaluable guide will help varied readers see the Christian tradition through Hauerwas’s eyes and discover it is a treasure chest spiked with political, social, and spiritual dynamite.” — Rodney Clapp, author of Border Crossings and A Peculiar People

“This one-volume Hauerwas reader provides us with a rounded view of one of the greatest theological minds, who is equally one of the greatest ecclesial forces, of the postmodern era.” — John Milbank

"This book might be called ‘The Essential Hauerwas,’ in both meanings of the term: It captures the gist of the person and enterprise, and understanding Hauerwas is necessary to understanding theological ethics in our time. Nobody writing today offers a more bracing mix of piquancy, outrageousness, erudition, and intellectual intensity in proposing that we get serious about being Christians." — (The Rev.) Richard John Neuhaus, Editor-in-chief, First Things

"This collection is obviously a labor of love. Fortunately, it is also a labor of editorial care and precision. In addition to first-rate introductory material, the writings of a master provocateur are gathered here in a fresh, synthetic format. Re-reading these essays was humbling." — Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Divinity and Professor of Law at Duke University. In addition to having published over three hundred scholarly articles to date, he is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy, and Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics.

John Berkman is Assistant Professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America. Michael G. Cartwright is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis.

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Divinity and Professor of Law at Duke University. In addition to having published over three hundred scholarly articles to date, he is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy, and Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics.

John Berkman is Assistant Professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America. Michael G. Cartwright is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Abbreviations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Part I: Editorial Introductions

John Berkman, An Introduction to The Hauerwas Reader 3

William Cavanaugh, Stan the Man: A Thoroughly Biased Account of a completely Unobjective Person 17

Part II: Reframing Theological Ethics

Who Are Christians? The Christian Story

1. How "Christian Ethics" Came to Be (1997) 37

2. On Keeping Theological Ethics Theological (1983) 51

3. A Retrospective Assessment of an "Ethics of Character": The Development of Hauerwas's Theological Project (1985, 2001) 75

4. Why the "Sectarian Temptation" Is a Misrepresentation: A Response to James Gustafson (1988) 90

5. Reforming Christian Social Ethics: Ten Theses (1981) 111

6. Jesus and the Social Embodiment of the Peaceable Kingdom (1983) 116

7. The Church as God's New Language (1986) 142

What Are Christians to Be? Christian Discipleship

8. Vision, Stories, and Character (1973, 2001) 165

9. A Story-Formed Community: Reflections on Watership Down (1981) 171

10. Self-Deception and Autobiography: Reflections on Speer's Inside the Third Reich, with David B. Burrell (1974) 200

11. Character, Narrative, and Growth in the Christian Life (1980) 221

12. The Interpretation of Scripture: Why Discipleship is Required (1993) 255

13. Casuistry in Context: The Need for Tradition (1995) 267

How Are Christians to Live? Discipleship Exemplified

14. Courage Exemplified, with Charles Pinches (1993) 287

15. Why Truthfulness Requires Forgiveness: A Commencement Address for Graduates of a College of the Church of the Second Chance (1992) 307

16. Peacemaking: The Virtue of the Church (1985) 318

17. Remembering as a Moral Task: The Challenge of the Holocaust (1981) 327

18. Practicing Patience: How Christians Should Be Sick, with Charles Pinches (1997) 348

Part III: New Intersections in Theological Ethics

The Church's Witness: Christian Ethics after "Public Theology"

19. The Servant Community: Christian Social Ethics (1983) 371

20. Should War Be Eliminated? A Thought Experiment (1984) 392

21. On Being a Church Capable of Addressing a World at War: A Pacifist Response to the United Methodist Bishops' Pastoral In Defense of Creation (1988) 426

22. A Christian Critique of Christian America (1986) 459

23. Sex in Public: How Adventurous Christians Are Doing It (1978) 481

24. The Radical Hope in the Annunciation: Why Both Single and Married Christians Welcome Children (1998) 505

25. Why Gays (as a Group) Are Morally Superior to Christians (as a Group) (1993) 519

26. Christianity: It's Not a Religion, It's an Adventure (1991) 522

The Church's Hospitality: Christian Ethics after "Medical Ethics"

27. Salvation and Health: Why Medicine Needs the Church (1985) 539

28. Should Suffering Be Eliminated? What the Retarded Have to Teach Us (1984) 556

29. Memory, Community, and the Reasons for Living: Reflections on Suicide and Euthanasia, with Richard Bondi (1976) 577

30. 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 (1975) 596

31. Abortion, Theologically Understood (1991) 603

Michael G. Cartwright, Stanley Hauerwas's Essays in Theological Ethics: A Reader's Guide 623

Selected Annotated Bibliography 673

Scripture References 699

Name Index 701

Subject Index 709
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2691-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2680-9
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