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A (Very) Critical Introduction
POD; Published: 3/14/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2599-5
Price: $ 24.50
154 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Series: Interventions

Sharp, thoughtful critique of a highly respected theologian

Stanley Hauerwas is one of the most important and robustly creative theologians of our time, and his work is well known and much admired. But Nicholas Healy -- himself an admirer of Hauerwas's thought -- believes that it has not yet been subjected to the kind of sustained critical analysis that is warranted by such a significant and influential Christian thinker. As someone interested in the broader systematic-theological implications of Hauerwas's work, Healy fills that gap in Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction.

After a general introduction to Hauerwas's work, Healy examines three main areas of his thought: his method, his social theory, and his theology. According to Healy, Hauerwas's overriding concern for ethics and church-based apologetics so dominates his thinking that he systematically distorts Christian doctrine. Healy illustrates what he sees as the deficiencies of Hauerwas's theology and argues that it needs substantial revision.
"Healy's eye for the 'logic of belief' offers salutary correctives to Hauerwas's theological agenda."
Religious Studies Review
"Rarely does a book this good come along that is equal parts fair, informed, and decisively critical. . . . Although Healy is unequivocal in his dissent from Hauerwas, he is always restrained, irenic, and gracious. It is an exemplary form of theological polemic, and is a starting place for all future research on Hauerwas's complicated oeuvre. Hauerwas is more than a book about a social ethicist; it is a work of theology itself."
R. R. Reno
--editor of First Things
"A must-read! Healy interprets Hauerwas as mirroring Schleiermacher. It's a provocation so clearly argued that this will become a touchstone, not just for future interpretation of Hauerwas but for our engagement with a great deal of contemporary theology."
John Webster
-- University of St. Andrews
"Theological controversy is an art in which few are skilled. This (very) critical response to a much-admired contemporary, however, exemplifies the virtues necessary to mount a substantial challenge without straying into invective: it keeps calm; it concentrates on matters of substance; it manifests sympathetic understanding of the body of writing which it seeks to contest; and — more than anything — it articulates its puzzlements and disagreements on the basis of convictions about God and the gospel."
Catholic Books Review
"More books like Nicholas Healy's Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction should be written. . . . Healy's book presents an excellent example of sharpening a living theological tradition, according to the understanding of tradition as, in MacIntyre's terms, `an argument extended through time.' Let the argument endure, I say, and may we continue to be blessed with contributors to it who are as careful and probing as Healy."
Theological Book Review
"Many of Hauerwas's interlocutors are friends and colleagues. As an outsider, Healy argues that he can better represent Hauerwas from an objective point of view. . . . The book is balanced, and offers questions of Hauerwas's theology that are not often raised of him in such a systematic fashion. Because of the author's honest attempt to remain objective, this book is recommended to those disagreeable, favourable or unfamiliar with the work of Stanley Hauerwas."
The Two Cities
"A provocative and theologically astute engagement with one of America's most influential theologians."
Christian Century
"Nicholas Healy, a systematic theologian, has written a book that offers a provocative reading of Hauerwas's work. . . . Although it is less than 160 pages long, it is densely packed with argumentation. It is also well organized."
First Things
"Good books on contemporary theologians are rare, good critical books rarer still. This is a very good, very critical analysis of a widely esteemed and powerful Christian teacher, economically written, tightly argued, and purposive."
Presbyterian Outlook
"It is a rare treat for an admirer to bring a sustained critical argument to the work of one he admires. That makes this book so exceptional and important, especially for readers who have been influenced by Hauerwas. A generation of Christian leaders have been challenged by his provocative teachings of Christian discipleship and theological method. Nicolas Healy provides a great gift in this book to those who want a more critical way to incorporate Hauerwas' theology and practice."
Word & World
"Hauerwas poses a unique challenge for anyone attempting to write an appraisal of his work. . . . Healy's critical introduction provides a few helpful pointers for a critique of Hauerwas."