The Making of Stanley Hauerwas

Bridging Barth and Postliberalism

New Explorations in Theology

by David B. Hunsicker

The Making of Stanley Hauerwas
  • Length: 262 pages
  • Published: September 10, 2019
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4916-1
  • Item Code: 4916

In the past half-century, few theologians have shaped the landscape of American belief and practice as much as Stanley Hauerwas. His work in social ethics, political theology, and ecclesiology has had a tremendous influence on the church and society. But have we understood Hauerwas's theology, his influences, and his place among the theologians correctly?

Hauerwas is often associated—and rightly so—with the postliberal theological movement and its emphasis on a narrative interpretation of Scripture. Yet he also claims to stand within the theological tradition of Karl Barth, who strongly affirmed the priority of Jesus Christ in all matters and famously rejected Protestant liberalism. These are two rivers that seem flow in different directions.

In this volume within IVP Academic's New Explorations in Theology (NET) series, theologian David Hunsicker offers a reevaluation of Hauerwas's theology, arguing that he is both a postliberal and a Barthian theologian. In so doing, Hunsicker helps us to understand better both the formation and the ongoing significance of one of America's great theologians.

"David Hunsicker ends his delightfully lucid account of Hauerwas's theology with the assurance that his will not be the last word. But his book has definitively raised the standard for all future treatments of the main sources and impulses of Hauerwas's theological ethic."

Brian Brock, professor of moral and practical theology, school of divinity, history and philosophy, University of Aberdeen

"In mellifluous prose, Hunsicker makes the case that Hauerwas is not, as some scholars have recently charged, unconsciously an exponent of Protestant liberalism. But in making this case, Hunsicker gives us something even more valuable: a reckoning with Hauerwas's main sources that offers a new way of understanding the history of the past century of Protestant theology in America, with Hauerwas performing Barth's theology in a Yoderian mode in response to American idolatries. This book helps us to understand what Hauerwas's witness has meant and means."

Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"Hunsicker's book is thoroughly academic, well researched, and clearly organized. Carefully guiding his readers through his argument, he convincingly submits that Hauerwas is thoroughly Barthian in his rejection of Protestant liberalism in the American context. He effectively highlights the pragmatism of postliberal theology vis-à-vis Hauerwas's ecclesiocentric Christology under the influence of Barth, showing his readers how Barth's theology for the church is picked up, adapted, and applied by Hauerwas. This book is a must-read for understanding how these two important theologians affect contemporary discussions in missional ecclesiology."

Ronald T. Michener, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium


Foreword—Stanley Hauerwas

Part I: The Making of a Barthian Postliberal
1. The Stories that Made Stanley Hauerwas
2. With and Beyond Barth
3. Abortion, Theologically Understood
4. Breaking Barthian
5. Barthian Postliberalism Exemplified

Part II: The Schleiermacher Thesis Examined
6. Karl Barth's Theological Ethics
7. Stanley Hauerwas's Ecclesial Ethics
8. Casuistry and Christology

Part III: The Ritschl Thesis Examined
9. The Church’s Book
10. Salvation Belongs to Our Church?
11. Ecclesiocentrism without Liberalism
General Index
Scripture Index


David Hunsicker (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) teaches theology at Azusa Pacific University. Previously, he served as a youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Barbara.

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