Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy

Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy

Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy

Wilderness Wanderings: Probing Twentieth-Century Theology and Philosophy

Synopsis

Stanley Hauerwas critically engages the major theological & philosophical voices of modernity to reclaim a space for Christian discourse. Writing to a generation of Christians that finds itself at once comfortably "at home" yet oddly fettered & irrelevant in America, Hauerwas challenges contemporary Christians to imagine what it might mean to "break back into Christianity" in a world that is at best semi-Christian.

Excerpt

I have been thinking about this book for years. Indeed, I have not just been thinking about this book for years, but for years this book has been in the process of being written. That will be obvious to the reader, as the essays in this volume span a decade. a book about time, as well as "a time," should not try to hide its own timefulness. I have never tried to write for "the ages." Those with greater intellectual power and erudition may so try to write, perhaps even successfully, but I try to remember that my talents and task are more modest. I write in the hope that a space may be provided for those still to come to do theology with a confident expansiveness that, to me and many of my generation, is largely unavailable.

One of the characters in John Updike novel The Couples observed that his generation was attempting with great difficulty to "break back into paganism." That surely is the right way to put the matter. For it is no easy challenge to be a pagan in a semi-Christian world where too often Christianity has simply become another name for pagan reality. Witness, for example, the idolatry of Christian love of nation. My own work has been an attempt to imagine what it would mean to "break back into Christianity" in a world that is at best semi-Christian. Again, that is not an easy undertaking, because the very assumption that one must "break back into Christianity" means that one is robbed from the very outset of whatever confidence that "being there" might have engendered. This side of the Holocaust--a lack of confidence on the part of Christians--may, one hopes, be a sign of faith.

The series Radical Traditions, however, is designed to provide a space for those who are "back into Christianity and Judaism." That Wilderness Wanderings is one of the first books to appear in the series is, therefore, something of an embarrassment. I was (and am) a bit ambivalent about publishing one of my own books in a series in which I am one of the general editors. I have agreed to do so only because Peter Ochs said I should--and I do what Peter tells me. Yet I hope that this book represents what will be seen as a transitional work in a way that the other books we publish are already in many ways "beyond."

Wilderness Wanderings is transitional in several senses. the book represents my continuing battle to break free from the modes of discourse in-

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