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A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0268007355
ISBN-10: 0268007357
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this, the best of his books to date, Stanley Hauerwas takes up again the task of presenting an ethical framework for Christian morality. . . . Significant and intellectually exciting . . . every teacher of Christian ethics should be familiar with this landmark.” —Horizons


“Hauerwas’s narrative ethical enterprise engages the reader with its scholarly creativity, practical wisdom, and profound conviction.” —Journal of the American Academy of Religion


“Hauerwas’s collection of essays represents a significant, if controversial, contribution to Christian ethics. . . . One cannot work through this volume without being provoked, challenged, and finally enlightened.” —America 

About the Author

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. He is the author of numerous books, including Christians among the Virtues, In Good Company, Suffering Presence, and Character and the Christian Life, all published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; 1 edition (January 31, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268007357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268007355
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Im on July 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an analytical book review of Stanley Hauerwas' A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic.

Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School and he holds a joint appointment with Duke Law School. Hauerwas' Methodist roots and diverse education and work experience contributes to an ecumenical theological stance that is not liberal (12). In addition to his ecumenicism, he is cross-disciplinary, as "he is in conversation with systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics."

The thesis of this book is that Christian morality and ethics can only make sense and be applied to one's life when one is living within the continuing narrative of the Christian story. As a result, Hauerwas frames everything he writes about in this book around the concept of narrative because without narratives, there is a loss of community (18).

This book is essentially divided up into three parts. The first part addresses how every community needs to be rooted in a narrative. For Christians, Jesus and the Kingdom of God is the narrative that forms the church (50). Furthermore, it is the Christian's belief in the authority of Scripture and God that enables the church to be the contrast model/community to a society that does not value authority.

The second part of the book continues to emphasize the importance of narrative in understanding the church since Christians are a "storied people" worshipping a "storied God" (91). Hauerwas claims that Christians need to cultivate hope and patience in their life in order to be a contrast narrative to this world (128).
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Paul D. Baxter on November 1, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the first book of Prof. Hauerwas's that I read, and it remains my favorite. It's been over a year since I read it, so many of the details of it are fuzzy in my mind. Nonetheless, I do remember being particularly struck by his statements about marriage, abortion, and the role of the church. Not to mention a lengthy first chapter almost entirely devoted to looking at how "scripture" functions in Richard Adams' _Watership Down_. If you've not read Hauerwas yet, repent, and buy this one. If you've read his other books, still buy this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trev on December 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is one of my favorites. The sheer range of topics that this book covers really increases its utility. This book has a lot of theory in it, but the theory is actually really accessible for those not completely familiar with Aquinas or Aristotle (you just need to be able to keep their names straight). The theory is also really encouraging. For me, it really gave me the words to explain some of my positions that I have just had a loss of words over. That is really one of the things that Hauerwas openly wants to accomplish. Furthermore, this book has some of Hauerwas' insights on some major issues that are being debated in the pubic square. Hauerwas gives his thoughts on these issues in a way that is easy to follow and memorable.

I would really recommend this book for any Christian to purchase and keep in his or her library. If you are in any way involved with the church, or discussions involving issues related to it, this book will help you a lot. It is a book that you will return to more than once and is well worth the money I paid for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teddy Ray on April 14, 2015
Format: Paperback
When I could keep up with him, Hauerwas was brilliant. His words on the nation-state and marriage are profound. I finished with the feeling that I missed more than I got, though. I blame Hauerwas (surely some of this could be said more plainly) and myself (great books deserve a great effort) equally.
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A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic
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