We Are Who We Think We Were
Christian History and Christian Ethics
Publication Year: 2013
Conley calls into question the outdated historical methodologies in use in Christian social ethics and outlines the consequences stemming from them. By adopting the postmodern post-structuralist position of historian Elizabeth Clark, Conley calls ethicists to learn to read for the gaps, silences, and aporias existent in historical texts as well as in the histories represented by them.
The book calls ethicists to a critical self-reflexive historiography. This self-criticism allows the ability to construct new histories and formulate new ethical norms for the world in which we now live. This work is another voice in the conversation about the meaning and implications of method in history, and applies that concretely to Christian ethics.
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Series: Emerging Scholars
Title Page, Copyright Page
Seldom are projects of significant size and breadth the results of a single person.
This is certainly true of the present volume, and in my efforts to recount each
person who contributed to this project, my thinking and writing regrettably
will fail to mention some. For this reason I humbly apologize and hope for
future opportunities to provide them with the proper recognition.
To begin, I...
1. Landscapes of Historiography in Christian Social Ethics
From William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to Søren Kierkegaard’s Diary of the Seducer to Julius Epstein’s 1942 screenplay Casablanca, Western audiences have long been in love with the literary motif of love.1 We cannot seem to get enough of the romance, strife, and embodied desire that these works elucidate. They fill our souls with a deeply rooted sense of interconnectedness while...
2. A Critical Self-Reflexive Historiography for Christian Ethics
The staking of claims on data gleaned from historical sources, whether they be memory, myth or artifact, is a practice long observed through the centuries. Ancient Israelites, for example, continually harkened back to their memories of the trials and triumphs they experienced in the past. The Hebrew Scriptures are replete with exhortations to remember figures like Noah, Abraham, and...
3. Metanarrative Habits Are Hard to Break
“Stanley Hauerwas hates liberalism,” writes Max Stackhouse in response to Hauerwas and Willimon’s 1989 release of Resident Aliens.1 Stackhouse’s comment illuminates the explicit rhetoric in this book against all things modern: a theme that characterizes much of Hauerwas’s work. Liberalism, for Hauerwas, is broader than what gets labeled as “liberal” by contemporary...
4. Reevaluating Tertullian and the Virtue of Patience
Dominique LaCapra approaches historiography as a conversation with the past.1 Through his dialogical approach historical texts “speak” to the contemporary reader who, through a process of critical analysis, speaks back to the text to see if he is understanding clearly. The reader is then transformed by history “through his or her own reading or rereading of the primary...
5. Continuity, Discontinuity, and the Quest for Justice
Raymond Williams aptly asserts, “In spite of substantial and at some levels decisive continuities in grammar and vocabulary, no generation speaks quite the same language as its predecessors.”1 Immediate knowledge of the past is always complicated by the ever-shifting appropriations of language in response to changing social conditions. “The difference,” Williams continues, “can be...