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Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  472 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
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 Hauerwa ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 2010 by SCM Press
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Jun 20, 2011 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stanley Hauerwas - the blue-collar, cursing theologian - is a beast. I mean this not in the British sense (though he can be that sort of beast if you are on the opposite side of a theological debate with him), but in that he devours books, works with dizzying rapidity, and writes more than most people read.
Yet the "vitae" within his "curriculum vitae" is equally interesting. His life has been a long struggle to understand the God of the Bible within the context of being an apprentice bricklayer
Barbara P
Mar 11, 2011 Barbara P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After hearing Stanley Hauerwas speak at a conference sponsored by Fuller Seminary in Pasadena a couple of weeks ago I bought his book, Hannah's Child. Hauerwas was married to Ann, for 24 years, who lived with Bi-Polar illness. Hauerwas is a theologian who teaches at Duke University and is a noted scholar. Hannah's Child is the memoirs of Hauerwas that include his life with Ann, the family burden of mental illness and his efforts to try and make some theological sense out of mental illness. The m ...more
Dec 01, 2010 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Splendid book. Hauerwwas is a theologian on the faculty of Duke Divinity School. Texas boy--graduated from Southwestern in Georgetown, TX. His father was a brick layer and so was he. Very powerful voice.

Only book I have ever written quotes from as I read it. Here are some of the passages that caught my attention--

"I have, moreover, tried to live a life I hope is unintelligible if the God we Christians worship does not exist."

"The first task of the church is not to make the world more just but to
Jul 17, 2013 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hauerwas's memoir, is really that of an extrovert, relating the books and especially the people that formed his thoughts and life. It was a little dry at times in its detailings and his recounting of his life with his mentally ill wife was horrific, but mostly it is a celebration of friendship and an invitation to the church to ignore fads, power, and the desire for control and live in the freedom and uncertainty of Jesus. His pacifism and refusal to bow to nationalistic or capitalistic distorti ...more
Hannah Notess
Nov 19, 2010 Hannah Notess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will admit that some of the more intricate theological parts of this book ("I used so-and-so's argument to prove such-and-such in response to so-and-so") were way over my head since I wasn't familiar with the discussions.

But this book answers a big question I always bring to any theology work: How does this person connect their life and their ideas? Where do these ideas come from? That's why I often struggle to read theology and philosophy in the first place - it often seems so divorced from
Hye Sung
Mar 28, 2012 Hye Sung rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me fall in love with this beautiful soul. Hauerwas's reflections and thoughts show how strongly he holds on to his convictions and that he really does not tolerate any pretention or, as he would probably prefer, "bullshit". Getting to know the people in his life was strangely very interesting. Who knew following the life of a theologian could be so insightful and even dramatic.
Neil Lettinga
Feb 05, 2017 Neil Lettinga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stanley Hauerwas’s Hannah’s Child is Hauerwas’ memoir. Hauerwas tells a good story of a theologian who doesn’t really come to faith until well after he’s earned his PhD and has been teaching a writing for a while. He also faces up to some very difficult issues in his life, including marriage to a woman with bipolar disorder and the disintegration of that marriage. I found myself reading chunks of it aloud to my wife through the first two thirds of the book. Once he finds happiness in a second ma ...more
Jonathan Platter
Jun 07, 2015 Jonathan Platter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This book has a large number of positive reviews, and my own ramblings will hardly contribute much. I simply want to add that though the writing may be "dry" for a memoir (a quality which unfortunately leads one reviewer to give a largely negative review) it is a fairly lively book of theology. And though the genre is "memoir", the subject is theology.

In an interview on youtube, Hauerwas even states that he wanted to subtitle the book "a theological memoir" but had to change it for the publisher
May 17, 2010 Lyndon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never imagined Hauerwas would write a memoir. I have no reason for thinking this other than I thought he already appeared in all his writings. At least, I thought he appeared. "Stanley Hauerwas" requires describing besides the many tales told by his students or the persona developed by his readers and interlocutors. This book is such a description. Worthwhile in how Stanley places himself in the landscape of Texas, Yale, South Bend and Duke, he provides an account of his life as understood thr ...more
Rod Buchanan
Dec 07, 2010 Rod Buchanan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In reading Hauerwas' books I wanted to know more about him. And get to know him I did. He holds nothing back and in his earthy style lets you in on his journey. Some may get bogged down with names and infighting of faculty at places they either don't know or care about, but for those somewhat aware of theological/academic figures it holds some interest. Some of these tales drag on a bit. Hauerwas is nothing if not honest, and his life is very interesting. As a side note, I thought it was interes ...more
May 27, 2010 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
One of the things that mark's me out as abnormal is that I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of one of my favorite theologians memoirs for the past year. This book will likely not seen as his most important book (that would be the Peacable Kingdom), his most popular book (that would be Resident Aliens), but I found it refreshing to hear Hauerwas in his own words share some of his journey as a theologian and revealing the soil that his ideas came to fruition.
Jul 27, 2012 Judith rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, the honesty, but lack of self pity, was very moving. It also communicated a real excitement about theology and why it is so important. Made me want to re-read what I have read of Hauerwas and read more that he has written.
Chris Schutte
Sep 18, 2012 Chris Schutte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful reflection on Christian growth and faithfulness from one of our most provocative theologians. He is also very humorous - I grinned and chuckled quite a bit, and even laughed out loud several times - not typical responses to theological writing . . .
Dwight Davis
Mar 14, 2015 Dwight Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful and transparent memoir. Just what I needed right now.
Dec 31, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hauerwas is an American theologian, well enough known to have earned a place on a Time cover, though this honour was eclipsed next day by 9/11. Hauerwas uses the memoir format to digress from autobiography and reflect on themes that run through his life.

He’s the son and apprentice of a Texas bricklayer. In bricklaying he learned the rough language seldom associated with a theologian or academic, as well as the hard work ethic that translated into his prolific output as a writer and success as a
Ben McFarland
Stanley Hauerwas has written a lot of book over the years, so I haven't read them all, but I don't think there's one out there that's more accessible than Hannah's Child. It's a memoir that he can't help but do in his own style, and a story of how a working-class child of a bricklayer entered and negotiated the strange world of academics. It's sad and funny, smart and humble. I think Christians should read it, and academics should read it ... so Christian academics should read it twice. It makes ...more
Harry Allagree
Oct 15, 2015 Harry Allagree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shortly after Stanley Hauerwas' book "Resident Aliens", co-authored with William Willimon, appeared in 1989, I got a copy & read it with great interest. As I look back, it was a book I never forgot, and one I certainly quoted on occasion. Yet, these were some of the impressions the book left me regarding Hauerwas: fresh/substantial/rigid/severe/cock-sure/evangelical. This & the few photos I saw of him represented for me a theologian in whom I was "interested", but who was too dour & ...more
Andrew Stout
May 21, 2010 Andrew Stout rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hauerwas' fascinating memoir is a recollection of how he has "become a Christian." I've always been struck by how many of Hauerwas' books are written with colleagues. Apparently the relationships that such projects are a result of are a major part of what makes Hauerwas who he is. The book is largely an account of the various relationships with friends and colleagues that he has developed over the years.

I was particularly struck by his discussions of his church attendance. For a theologian whos
Jon Sedlak
Apr 11, 2013 Jon Sedlak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is excellent. This is, by far, the most interesting book I've ever read by Hauerwas. I enjoyed every page, although there are things I disagreed with. Later on in the book, after he remarried, there was one page of theological comments which I thought was particularly foolish to write about, but that's Hauerwas for you. He's a Texas brick-layer who officially became a "Christian theologian" by age 60, and along that journey he admits to saying a lot of dumb things. A lot of the time it ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is a theologian? It is not easy to ask this question in the right way anymore, because the theologian seems, of all, to be at the very of every conversation. Hauerwas suggests that what animates his vocation is a desire for truthfulness, a way to be honest with himself and the world. He tells his story in a very simple way; I remembered something Augustine said about his own reading of the Bible: at first he was quite unimpressed with the literary quality of the text, and his great apprecia ...more
Dec 21, 2013 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend "Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir." It is the honest account of one of the most important theologians of our time, Stanley Hauerwas. Typical for Hauerwas are his insitence that he was a theologian before he became a Christian, that, now, in his old age, he is surprised that people see in him the light of God. Delightful is Hauerwas' insistence use of working class language for fear of becoming a hypocrit. Piercing and heartbreaking (but at the same time very encouraging a ...more
This memoir/autobiography may possibly be one of the worst-written that I've read. And overall I was disappointed with the book, having expected it to be richer and more thoughtful. Hauerwas is definitely a better writer when he's engaging the head instead of the heart. And who wants to read page after page about papers he wrote in graduate school? Not me. That said, his account of living with a severely mentally-ill wife was heart-breaking and tragic. I appreciated his honesty. I also appreciat ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stanley Hauerwas is one of my favorite theologians. Everyone should spend time in his works. He is one of America's best theologians and most needed in today's faith world. Hauerwas has a fascinating story of belief, doubt and belief. He appears to have truly internalized: "thy kingdom come on earth as in heaven". I think this comes in his radical view on pacifism and nonviolence. I am challenged by how Hauerwas thinks and how his understanding of how we live into the mystery of the Gospel perme ...more
Leroy Seat
Feb 19, 2011 Leroy Seat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book by a man I respect very much. It is a well-written and seeming honest narrative of the author's life and work. Especially to those who know Hauerwas and his work, I recommend this book highly.

Not far into the tenth chapter Hauerwas tells how John Howard Yoder said that the task of theology is “working with words in the light of faith” (p. 235). He says that for him, “ethics is but a name for exposing the practical character of theological speech.” Consequently, “The challe
Thing Two
Stanley Hauerwas, the foul-mouthed son of a Texas bricklayer, was named America's Best Theologian September 10, 2001 by Time Magazine. Hannah's Child is Haurewas' story - of how he came to this role, how he came to have faith, and which of his friends helped him along the way.

Life hasn't always been rosy for Hauerwas, and he doesn't shy away from the difficulties -- those he created and those he didn't. His philosophical arguments can be a bit dry, and I got lost in his long list of great frien
Bryn Clark
Oct 30, 2015 Bryn Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hauerwas' memoir was originally subtitled "a theological memoir" until his publisher convinced him to change it to "a theologian's memoir." I understand the change; but I would have stayed with the former.

Hauerwas does a remarkable job of intertwining his work as a theologian with his life as one learning to live a life of faith. If you cannot read Hauerwas' work (which I can't because I'm not that prolific of a reader and, for gods sakes. I've only JUST started reading Barth!) then read this bo
Mike Barker
Jul 30, 2015 Mike Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I missed Hauerwas all through divinity school and my pastoring days. I knew he was around and was writing good stuff, but I never got around to reading any of it! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the somewhat stream-of-consciousness style. Though he's probably out of my league intellectually, I think I would have enjoyed studying with him. There was a fairly balanced blend here of theology/ethics talk and just personal reflections on his life, especially his marriage(s) and son. I ...more
Mar 10, 2011 Haley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man. I love Stanley Hauerwas. What a fascinating person with an equally fascinating story to tell. Sure there were possibly hundreds of references to people, books, and philosophical / theological concepts that went entirely over my head, but that didn't keep me from enjoying each chapter. Two stories wove their way through the whole book and kept me hooked: the story of how Stanley Hauerwas finally discovered that he was a Christian after years of being a theologian, and the story of how he ...more
Jan 03, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hauerwas is the son of a bricklayer from Pleasant Grove, Texas. His humble beginning lays the foundation for his theology and life. He stays married to a mentally ill woman who blames him for her problems because that is the work he chose when he married her. He writes prolifically because that is his work. However, somewhere along the way, he discovers that he is not just a theologian, but a Christian. His life and work becomes becomes part of his worship of a God who he finally becomes comfort ...more
John Lussier
A theologian's memoir? What a strange idea... but Hauerwas is known for those.

Hannah's Child is Stanley Hauerwas' reflections upon his life as a theologian and someone who never really knew if he was a Christian, until, surprisingly he was.

I'd not recommend this work to everyone. It's not exceptionally well-written or a page turner. But it isn't meant to be. Hauerwas takes the time to explain how his story and the friend's around him shaped his life and thought. If that interests you, and you
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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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“I fear that much of the Christianity that surrounds us assumes our task is to save appearances by protecting God from Job-like anguish. But if God is the God of Jesus Christ, then God does not need our protection. What God demands is not protection, but truth.” 6 likes
“Peace is a deeper reality than violence."
p. 231”
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