procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

being Hauerwas

in between prolonged illness and exegeticals, i've managed to squeeze in a fair bit of Hauerwas. dan, pretty much the closest thing to a Hauerwas specialist, recommended i start with Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir, which i really loved.

i should add - Stanley Hauerwas is an American ethicist, who is strongly influenced by John Howard Yoder who was a Mennonite pacifist.

Hauerwas has worked at a variety of institutions - most notably Arkansas (which i was taught this week is actually said Arkansaw - who would have guessed!), Notre Dame and Duke. he came over to do the New College Lectures back in 1990, and as well as being named by Time magazine America's best theologian, he presented the 2000/2001 Gifford Lectures.

he's a really interesting guy - as mentioned above, Hannah's Child is a great introduction to him. there are also some great anecdotes about him.
an untrue, yet very funny one, is that he visited Harvard, asked 'where the library was at', and upon being told that people at Harvard didn't end sentences with prepositions, rephrased his question, 'where's the library at asshole'.
he denies this ever happened - but not that it is at all against his character (i.e., it could've, but didn't happen).*

my biggest problem with Hauerwas is he's written so voluminously! it's really hard to get through all he's written, particularly with others wanting to borrow the same books from the library! what i like about him is his emphasis on the centrality of the church, and the importance of simple acts such as kneeling and doing communion as signifying what it is to be a set-apart community. although he perhaps overstates the importance of for example doing the eucharist weekly, in the Australian, and particularly Sydney context, we have definitely gone to far in the other direction - there is a fear of making church look like church.

anyway, i'll keep trawling through. will say more when i have more to say.

* in The State of the University, 2007, p133.

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Blogger byron smith said...

Another good introduction (since Hauerwas is less sysmatician than street-fighter) is The Stanley Hauerwas Reader, an edited collection of his essays on various topics.

3:35 am  

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