Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reviewing Hauerwas

I've heard several people laud Stanley Hauerwas's memoir, Hannah's Child. Here is a review by Martin Copenhaver in Christian Century that summarizes and evaluates the book in a fair and insightful way. Excerpts from the review:
As he writes elsewhere in the memoir, he believes that "wherever Christians exist they are constituted by words and actions that should—but may not—make their lives difficult." This is a moving account of a Christian simply—and powerfully—living out the implications of his convictions...
Hauerwas contends that you cannot rightly consider someone's thought apart from that person's life; as he often puts it, "Only ad hominem arguments are interesting." Obviously, to write a memoir is to invite just that kind of argument....
It is telling that Hauerwas is fond of Oscar Wilde's contention that we are never more true to ourselves than when we are inconsistent. In his inconsistency, then, Hauerwas is consistently true to himself.
The first line there is an excellent way of describing the essentially (i.e.: not optional) challenging character of Christian faith and the theological reflection that it inspires - in our culture of 'live and let live'

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