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Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir [Paperback]

Stanley Hauerwas
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Oct 2013
In 2001 Stanley Hauerwas was voted 'America's best theologian' by "Time Magazine". Here are Hauerwas' long-awaited memoirs. A loving, hard-working, godly couple has long been denied a family of their own. Finally, the wife makes a deal with God: if he blesses her with a child, she will dedicate that child to God's service. The result of that prayer was the birth of an influential - some say prophetic - voice. Surprisingly, this is not the biblical story of Samuel but the account of Stanley Hauerwas, one of today's leading theologians in the church and the academy. The story of Hauerwas' journey into Christian discipleship is captivating and inspiring. With genuine humility, he describes his intellectual struggles with faith, how he has dealt with the reality of marriage to a mentally ill partner, and the gift of friendships that have influenced his character. Throughout

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: SCM Press (16 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0334043689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0334043683
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This is a beautiful book and nothing less than a theological anthropology: the formation of a Christian soul. It is honest, perceptive, cutting through cant, witty and intelligent all the characteristics we have come to expect of Stanley Hauerwas as a public intellectual. But the best that can be said of it is that even if Stanley Hauerwas was not Stanley Hauerwas, this book would be a theological gift. I put aside the novel I was reading to finish it, immersed in a lifetime of Christian experience distilled into wisdom, and moved by the sheer humanity of it all. --Graham Ward, University of Manchester

In this entrancing memoir, Stanley Hauerwas reflects on what he sees as the successes and failures of his life as one of the most celebrated theological ethicists of his time. It is, of course, the accounts of his perceived personal failures that are the most testing and moving: what breaks and stops even his own best motivations and intentions are the stuff of profound Christian reflection. This little autobiography follows triumphantly in the Augustinian tradition of Confessions . --Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge

From Texan bricklayer to Duke University Professor to internationally renowned Christian Ethicist, Stanley Hauerwas remains a force of nature and grace in the theological world. This memoir, faithful as ever to his roots in title and content, provides personally moving and intellectually exciting insights into Stanley and his work for (critical?) admirers. It should also help his severer critics to understand better and appreciate more this complex and gifted man. --Enda Mc Donagh, Maynooth

About the Author

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School with a joint appointment at the Duke University School of Law

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A frank and open memoir 5 Sep 2010
For those into theology, especially ethics, this is a first-rate read. Hauerwas tells his life story, painting a picture of himself (and of others) warts and all. Refreshed by his honesty, I enjoyed every page of it and wish I had come across him sooner.
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I read this from cover to cover within days of buying it. Two reasons why you may wish to read it. The first is, as other reviewers have suggested, it is a captivating story of the life and development of a leading theologian. He explains how his many friendships provided the support that enabled him to work through the more difficult times in his life. The second is that Hauerwas provides valuable details of the people and texts that have influenced his thoughts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very thought-provoking insight 10 Sep 2013
Stanley Hauerwas is a name I'm not terribly familiar with, though I have seen him mentioned an increasing amount over the last few years. Yet I have still never heard his name mentioned out loud, so I remain unsure how to pronounce his surname. I had not read anything of his previously, though after reading this, I will be endeavouring to read a little more.

This is not a theological tome by any means, the subtitle was what caught me: A theologian's memoir. It seemed fascinating to me to get under the skin of someone who has spent their life studying theology to see what makes them tick, what influences they have had and to see how that has shaped their work. He opens by asking what it means for him to be Stanley Hauerwas.

To answer this question, he goes right back to his childhood in Texas, learning the bricklaying trade under his father's supervision. What may surprise some readers, it certainly surprised me, was that at times Hauerwas opts to maintain authenticity by using the rather coarse language of the building trade. As matter of fact as it might have been, one cannot help but think that Hauerwas encourages the reader to see a little metaphor for his later career as a theologian. In learning the trade, Hauerwas had to work in a time and place when racism was rife. Yet he was working as an equal alongside those who were marginalised, which may well have helped inform his later views. Though the coarse language aside, some of the other turns of phrase made me feel a little uneasy given their racial overtones.

What he doesn't set out to do is to give an itinerary of his life, though the places he visits do form an unobtrusive background.
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5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing in its honesty 25 Jan 2013
I will state first of all that I am a 'fan' of Hauerwas.
I have read a few of his other books and found them to be challenging and stimulating (particularly 'The Peaceable Kingdom').
In 'Hannah's Child' Hauerwas combines deeply moving experiences from his personal life with deeply insightful theological musings - almost in the same paragraph!
I lapped it up and by the end of the book I felt I had got to know Hauerwas a bit better.
I did actually hear him at Greenbelt at around the same time as reading the book, and hearing his accent helped!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sort of thoughtful 16 Dec 2010
By chrisie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I heard Stanley Hauerwas on radio 4 recently in debate. He was so interesting I decided I wanted to learn more about him, so I bought Hannah's Child.
His strugle with religion was not as complex as I thought it might be and the book focused a great deal on his sick wife and his son.It also became very focused on him
I looked at several of his other books that were more theologicaly based but they were too expensive
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