Being Hauerwas

The subtitle of Stanley Hauerwas's new book raises a question: Why would anyone want to read a theologian's memoir? The answer is not immediately self-evident. One can admire a thinker or an artist and still not be drawn to the person's life story. I once began reading a biography of Ella Fitzgerald, whose artistry I greatly admire, but I gave up about halfway through because I concluded that the most interesting part of Fitzgerald's life is found in her music.

Something similar could be said of many theologians, including important ones: what we really want to know about them is in their body of work. A memoir or biography of just about any theologian other than Dietrich Bonhoeffer would hardly be riveting. I imagine one titled Memoir of a Theologian: Tenured Professor, Department Chair, Expert in the Arcane.

But Hannah's Child is one theologian's memoir that clearly is worth reading, and for reasons that go beyond the fact that Hauerwas is a theologian of great influence.


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