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Power and Purpose
Paul Ramsey and Contemporary Christian Political Theology
PAPERBACK; Published: 1/26/2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7188-6
240 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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DESCRIPTION
Underscores the contemporary relevance of a once-respected and now-neglected ethicist

Not long ago, Paul Ramsey (1913-1988) was a leading voice in North American Christian ethics. Today, however, his intellectual legacy is in question, and his work is largely ignored by current scholars in the field. Against the tide of that neglect, Adam Edward Hollowell argues in Power and Purpose that Ramsey's work can still yield considerable insight for contemporary Christian political theology.

Hollowell shows the influences of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Barth on Ramsey's early work; discusses his conversations with political theologians of his generation, including Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr and Joseph Fletcher; considers his influence on the early virtue theory of Jean Porter and Oliver O'Donovan; and places Ramsey's work in conversation with more recent voices in Christian ethics, including John Bowlin, Jennifer Herdt, Charles Mathewes, Eric Gregory, and Daniel Bell. Hollowell thus forges new connections between Ramsey and contemporary debates in political theology on such issues as political authority, power, just war, and torture.

Hollowell's Power and Purpose also revisits well-known aspects of Ramsey's work — for example, his insistence on the political significance of God's covenant with creation — and offers an original account of the role of judgment in his theology of repentance. The book dedicates considerable attention to Ramsey's description of practical reasoning and highlights his commitment to the virtues, especially prudence. This accessible introduction to Paul Ramsey will appeal to a wide swath of scholars and students in Christian ethics and political theology.

Read more about this book on Eerdword.
REVIEWS
The Living Church
"Illuminating. . . . Merits consideration by any reader of political theology and ethics."
Religious Studies Review
"Hollowell's hard work succeeds in retrieving Ramsey not just for a contextual understanding of the theologians of his day, but as a vital conversation partner for the issues at hand in our world this day."
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
“This book makes a strong contribution to scholarship on Paul Ramsey and American political theology. Scholars and graduate students in these fields (especially those who study Bowlin, Herdt, Mathewes, Gregory, and Bell) will be grateful for Hollowell’s work.”
Oliver O'Donovan
— University of Edinburgh
"Paul Ramsey's presence is still felt wherever questions of war and peace are on the agenda. But as Adam Hollowell can convince us, Ramsey's just-war theory is only the surface of a body of theological-political reflection with depth, complexity, and far-reaching implications. This book is a major help in reappropriating a legacy with far more to say to public theologians than they have yet realized."
Eric Gregory
— Princeton University
"A lively, compelling, and thorough treatment of Paul Ramsey's neglected contribution to Christian ethics. At the same time, by reading him as more than an `ethicist,' Hollowell liberates our imagination for Ramsey's abiding relevance to fundamental issues in moral and political theology. Teachers and students will be grateful for this masterful reconstruction and needed intervention."
G. Scott Davis
— University of Richmond
"In this fine book Adam Hollowell captures the living voice of a giant of Christian ethics. Having done so, he puts Ramsey in dialogue with a new generation — represented by Daniel Bell, John Bowlin, Eric Gregory, Jennifer Herdt, and Charles Mathewes — that is poised to dominate the field for at least the next decade. Hollowell argues persuasively that Ramsey's voice remains indispensable for them and their students."
Books at a Glance
"Hollowell succeeds in his goal: he demonstrates the relevance of Ramsey for Christian political theology today and highlights areas where continued scholarship on Ramsey's work may yield the most fruit. This book is a must read for anyone interested in Ramsey, secondarily to those interested in the particular topics and dialogue partners Hollowell chose. It is particularly appropriate for college or graduate courses focusing on the development of twentieth-century ethics and on Christian political theology."

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