Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Article excerpt

Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir. By Stanley Hauerwas. (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 2010, Pp. vii, 288. $25.00, hardcover.)

Stanley Hauerwas' autobiographical work Hannah's Child is magisterial. There are many theologians and public intellectuals who have attempted to produce the dynamism of all the interlocking pieces necessary for a truly great biographical work: a compelling overarching narrative, self-introspection, insights regarding those whose lives have intersected with the author, development of and influences upon their academic corpus, and yes, a bit of gossip. There are a number of recent autobiographies of this ilk that have fallen flat. Cornel West's Brother West (New York: Smiley Books, 2010) jarringly and intentionally dances away from every occasion for self-analysis, while John Cobb's autobiography tosses out rejoinders to his philosophical opponents in the context of a life story that disappointingly reads like a curriculum vitae. There is the overly-juicy biography of Paul Tillich, From Time to Time (New York: Stein 8c Day, 1974), penned with tabloid zeal by his wife Hannah. While Hauerwas certainly does not shy away from personal and professional topics that could be considered scandal-laden, he offers them up with the tinges of dignity and tragedy that such events should elicit.

I have shared a conversation with Hauerwas only once, nearly twenty years ago, and while I recognize his impact, I am no sycophant regarding his substantial contributions to the field of Christian ethics. Nonetheless, I could not be more impressed by the man that we meet through Hannah's Child, whom we witness through failings and courage, adversity and success. …

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