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The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  426 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
In this classic work, Stanley Hauerwas presents an overall introduction to the themes and method that have distinguished his vision of Christian ethics. Rather than survey ethical thinkers or quandaries he develops one straightforward account of a Christian ethic, systematically displaying ideas introduced in his previous works and emphasizing peaceableness as a hallmark o ...more
Published May 12th 2009 by SCM Press (first published 1991)
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Harry Allagree
Two statements in this book, published in 1983, state the basic question which Stanley Hauerwas addresses. "Who will help me decide what to do?" (From the Foreward by David B. Burrell, CSC) and "As H. Richard Niebuhr noted [re: catastrophic events in the country & the world], we can pass regulations, write our congressmen, but the frustrating thing is that there seems nothing constructive we can do. And the question becomes what are we to make of our lack of constructive activity and what ki ...more
May 13, 2011 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Hauerwas sees ethics not as a universal grouping of rules to be followed by all people in all places at all times. Nor does he see ethics as guidance for decisions to be made in a pinch ("quandry ethics"). He sees ethics as particular ways of learning, belonging, and becoming in the midst of (and in accordance with) the narrative-shaped communities in which we live, move, and have our being.

I like what he says about the particularity of Christian ethics (a subject that is explained at a more pop
Mar 24, 2011 Imogen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, theology
This book is a huge influence on my ethical thinking and general theological approach and really one of those things that one should not be able to escape a more than cursory education on Christianity without reading. Hauerwas lays out a concise, powerful case for a commitment to absolute non-violence and is refreshing for a theologian in being eminently clear and readable.

Hauerwas takes a brief but reasonably thorough tour through the history of Christian ethical thought and the various philoso
Apr 13, 2007 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an early work of Hauerwas' (early 80s) which draws heavily from the moral philosophy of Alisdair MacIntyre and the social ethics of John Howard Yoder. Here, he depicts the task of Christian ethics in terms of the particularity of the community of faith, moving away from foundationalst axioms/universals/etc. and toward a communal understanding of the "good" and the "true". While this certainly leaves the reader feeling quite uneasy, I can't help but resonate with Hauerwas' thoughts. He wa ...more
We read everything but part of the introduction. I don't know how to rate this textbook ... our professor made the content much more understandable than Hauerwas. It has some very interesting ideas about Judaism and Christianity as ethics based on Narrative (i.e., the 10 Commandments and other mandates are only make sense within the story of the exodus, that ethics/virtue is grounded in the kind of person and community one is as opposed to "absolutes" or natural law, which he doesn't believe re ...more
Nick Klagge
Jan 18, 2011 Nick Klagge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
The final book (for now) in my recent Hauerwas "tear", this work finds Hauerwas specifically orienting his theological position toward an ethic of nonviolence (or "peaceability"). I am glad to have read this shortly before MLK day, and it certainly has helped me appreciate the deep training in virtue that is a necessary prerequisite for the successful practice of nonviolence. Hauerwas (even if somewhat reluctant personally) takes up nonviolence as the epitome of Christian virtue, and also outlin ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Bobbettylou rated it really liked it
The first four (of eight) chapters are a bit tedious, as only a text book can be tedious. If you are familiar with theological/ethical jargon you could even skip them.

But the book becomes much moore readably on page 72 (of 160) with chapter five: "Jesus: The Presence of the Peaceable Kingdom." And I found myself underlining and pledging to remember and put into practice the practical theology of peace.

I had read the first (1983) edition back in the 80s but it is worth a reread.
wes Goertzen
Aug 09, 2008 wes Goertzen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thought
I like listening to Hauerwas more than I like reading him. I don't like his style but his ideas and passion resonate with me. I don't really see why his ethic has often been dismissed as sectarian. "Let the church be the church" seems like a good idea to me. He's one writer that is not afraid to talk about the possibility of martyrdom as part of the Christian witness.
May 12, 2007 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
This book is not issue focused (chapter on war, politics, etc.) but is centered around the community of Christ ... and because of this I think non-Christians may not find this book compelling. Hauerwas promotes a radically different view of what it means to be a Christian that some may find refreshing. This was my introduction to Hauerwas and I found it to be a quick read.
Steffi Greeff
Sep 30, 2013 Steffi Greeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read with a lot of substance. I love Hauerwas' outlook on Christian ethics and his honesty is refreshing. To my opinion he tended to take some leaps between chapters without sufficient bridging, which sometimes made it hard to read and follow systematically. But apart from that, I thought it was brilliant. A must read for any thinking Christian.
May 31, 2008 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Hauerwas is a very conservative protestant theologian and ethicist who makes the issues facing our country and world today, and how we respond to them, a matter of understanding our past and who we are. He wants us to know why it's important and necessary to know our story as christians so that we can respond appropriately to those issues.
Ben Gosden
Jan 16, 2014 Ben Gosden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology-ethics
Tremendous theological work. It will continue to serve as a major influence on my personal faith, the way I view and help shape the community of faith, and my view of the active and always challenging God found in Jesus Christ.
Aug 23, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sharply questions any affiliation with violence, state sanctioned or socially sanctioned, with a challenging case of Jesus's desire for a peaceful kingdom that does not occur out of teleological ethics but from the rigorous adherence to equally peaceful deontological ethics.

Apr 07, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A non-beligerent/irrational approach to Christian ethics. It is still rife with assumptions, but that is to be expected. As far as recommendations from reasonably intelligent Christian friends goes: this one at least recognizes the importance of philosophic proof.
Craig Dove
Sep 01, 2013 Craig Dove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that made me realize that "Christian Ethics" - despite Hauerwas' dislike of the term - is a distinct field from "Ethics" as it is normally thought.
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Stanley Hauerwas (PhD, Yale University) is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of numerous books, including Cross-Shattered Christ, A Cross-Shattered Church, War and the American Difference, and Matthew in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible.

America's Best Theologian according to Time Magazine (2001), though

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