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With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology [Hardcover]

By Stanley Hauerwas (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.4" Width: 6.36" Height: 1.03"
Weight:   1.17 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2001
Publisher   Brazos Press
ISBN  1587430169  
EAN  9781587430169  


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Item Description...
Overview
Stanley Hauerwas is a no-nonsense, confessional Christian theologian whose scholarship, sometimes disputed yet always demanding a response, has earned him a prominent reputation on the theological horizon. Brazos Press is proud to present With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology, Hauerwas's distinguished Gifford lectures at the University of St. Andrews (2001). These lectures explore how natural theology, divorced from a confessional doctrine of God, inevitably distorts our understanding of God's character and the world in which we live. Hauerwas criticizes those who use natural theology to defend theism as the philosophical prerequisite to confessional claims. Instead, after Karl Barth, he argues that natural theology should witness to "the non-Godforsakeness of the world, even under the conditions of sin." Stanley Hauerwas has good news for the church: theology can still tell us something significant about the way things are. In fact, the church is more than a social institution, and the cross of Christ, never peripheral, is central to knowing God. Whatever our native moral intelligence, the truth that is God is not available apart from moral transformation. Ultimately--and despite the scars left by modernity--theology must translate into a life transformed by confession and the witness of the church.

Publishers Description
"America's Best Theologian"
"Hauerwas is contemporary theology's foremost intellectual provocateur."--Time
Stanley Hauerwas is a no-nonsense, confessional Christian theologian whose scholarship, sometimes disputed yet always demanding a response, has earned him a prominent reputation on the theological horizon. Brazos Press is proud to present "With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology, " Hauerwas's distinguished Gifford lectures at the University of St. Andrews (2001).
These lectures explore how natural theology, divorced from a confessional doctrine of God, inevitably distorts our understanding of God's character and the world in which we live. Hauerwas criticizes those who use natural theology to defend theism as the philosophical prerequisite to confessional claims. Instead, after Karl Barth, he argues that natural theology should witness to "the non-Godforsakeness of the world, even under the conditions of sin."
Stanley Hauerwas has good news for the church: theology can still tell us something significant about the way things are. In fact, the church is more than a social institution, and the cross of Christ, never peripheral, is central to knowing God. Whatever our native moral intelligence, the truth that is God is not available apart from moral transformation. Ultimately--and despite the scars left by modernity--theology must translate into a life transformed by confession and the witness of the church.

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More About Stanley Hauerwas

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at the Divinity School of Duke University. He is the author of many books, including A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic (University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), which was selected by Christianity Today as one of the 100 most important books on religion of the twentieth century.

Stanley M. Hauerwas currently resides in the state of North Carolina. Stanley M. Hauerwas was born in 1940.

Stanley M. Hauerwas has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Radical Traditions S


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
what nonsense is theology!  Oct 11, 2005
The entire enterprise of theology -- attempting to explain a God whom even religion notes is beyond understanding -- is by definition ridiculous and nonsense! What to say here? Simply this. The argument of Barth and Hauerwas against natural theology is simply a way of making irrational religion impervious to rational critique. If you start by saying that Christianity is not based on nature, then what is it based on? Barth/Hauerwas would say revelation. But revelation is simply the delusion of old Jews and Greeks, who had no more notion of what God was or might be than the man in the moon. Thus revelation is baloney and so is Hauerwas and even Barth, for all Barth's intellectual distinction. It is time to call a spade a spade: theology is nonsense.
 
Will it be James, Niebuhr, or Barth?  Mar 7, 2002
The publication of Stanley Hauerwas' Gifford lectures (2000-2001) is an account of what went wrong with theology in the nineteenth century and how to set it back on the right course. The author exemplifies the former with an examination of William James and Reinhold Neibuhr and presents them as "disguised forms of humanism." The right course for our particular circumstance is a recovery of Karl Barth's christological natural theology.

I have little quarrel with Hauerwas' picture of James but I am troubled by his treatment of Niebuhr. The difficulty begins with the author's opening statement about Niebuhr: "Sin! Not just sin, but original sin, is taken to be what distinguishes Niebuhr from Protestant liberalism." In a way that is unthinkable for James, Niebuhr has a theology and it is driven by the reality of sin. In spite of some broad similarities between James and Niebuhr, their pragmatism for example, Niebuhr lived an authentic form of Christian witness. One does not even have to go beyond what the author writes about Niebuhr to see that Niebuhr's theology is thoroughly "against the grain" in a way that James' spiritualism is fashionable.

It is peculiar, to say the least, that Barth is presented as an example of natural theology because of his adamant "no" to any form of natural theology. In order to make his argument, Hauerwas has to redefine what is meant by natural theology. It has nothing to do with the natural world and everything to do with Barth's "ability to tell us the way the world is." Immediately, some will be dissatisfied with the Barthian divorce between natural science and theology. It is unfortunate that Hauerwas flows with the grain and turns Christian faith further inward without regard to a Christian witness over against the dominant and reductive scientific description of the way the universe is.

The vitality and relevance of "With the Grain of the Universe" is the question about whether it should be James, Niebuhr, or Barth who inform our theology. I do not like the forced choice between Niebuhr's inclusive form of witnessing (social justice, building coalitions, changing laws, siding with the poor) and Barth's witness to the crucified and risen Lord. If Christian theology is going to embrace natural theology, then let it be as Hauerwas says, a confident and unapologetic proclamation of the way things, but as a witness broad enough to include the created order as well as the human soul. As usual, Stanley Hauerwas has provided a theological framework for a lively and meaningful conversation.

 

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