Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity

People who hate getting caught in lies should steer clear of any serious engagement with Christianity. If they happen to be Americans, this should not prove difficult.

These are among the startling implications of Paul J. Griffiths’s demanding book. The claim that animates Griffiths’s work is that “our elevation of the virtue of politeness and courtesy over that of passionate and pointed argument suggests that we don’t think our disagreements very important.” But Griffiths, who holds the Schmitt Chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Illionois, Chicago, thinks our disagreements are very important indeed, and he is not afraid to act on that conviction. (See, for example his and Stanley Hauerwas’s spirited review in First Things [October 2003] of Just War Against Terror, Jean Bethke Elshtain’s defense of “the war on terrorism.”

 

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