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700 BOOK REVIEWS certain violations of justice can be appreciated without " any backĀ· ground of social conventions" (p. 95). The cases he cites-racial and gender bias and the failure to return kindness-may he unproblematic for us, hut is this not because we have been tutored by the institutions of modern liberalism? A strong case can be made, moreover, that our general agreement vanishes when it comes to particular cases. This raises a larger question: can character ethics-with its repudiation of impersonal decision procedures-provide a basis for even limited universalism ? A less impersonal route would be that of Thomistic natural law, but Kupperman's meager attention to personhood and his emphasis upon the self as a " metaphysical term of art" makes this an unlikely route. Kupperman seems intent on securing limited universalism as a neeĀ· essary framework for pluralism; the view is central to his thesis that moral education cannot substitute values clarification for absolutism, at least not in its initial stage (pp. 174-78). It is not clear, however, that the primacy of the language of " values " is compatible with an emphasis on strength of character. Kupperman concedes that an "antiphony of values " may make the achievement of strong character more difficult. He fails, however, to entertain seriously the possibility that the pluralism of post-modern liberalism might well generate a society of Nietzsche's last men, with no more than a " qualified loyalty to anything " (p. 137) . While the argument of Character may not he fully persuasive, it nonetheless marks an important contribution to recent Hterature attempting to show that liberalism need not be indifferent to questions of the good and of human excellence. THOMAS s. HIBBS Boston College Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts The Magic of Ritual: Our Need for Liberating Rites that Transform Our Lives and Our Communities. By TOM F. DRIVER. San Francisco : Harper, 1991. Pp. 270. $19.95. Tom Driver, former theater critic and author of hooks about theater and religion, is Paul Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture at Union Theological Seminary, New York. He is also an active leader in the Ritual Studies section of the American Academy of Religion. This engagingly written book reflects all of these vocations and interests. When he writes compellingly that we suffer from a void of ritual that could give shape and meaning to human life he critiques the view that BOOK REVIEWS 701 Christianity is primarily about theology and doctrine as well as the shape and content of the liturgy as presently celebrated in many Christian churches. On the one hand, this book is an apologia for the role of ritual in Christian life; on the other, it is a trenchant critique of what and how liturgical churches ritualize their faith. In the Introduction he states that by design this work is about the " deep human longing for ritual; to interpret it in the light of our physical, social, polemical , sexual, moral, aesthetic, and religious existence; and to urge a reform of our ritual life, especially in religion, so that our longing for ritual and our longing for freedom may come together " (4). He poignantly observes that the book is a response to "ritual boredom" (7) and that much Christian liturgical practice " has become moribund " (ll). The book's fairly evenly distributed three parts concern "ritual pathways," a cursory survey of animal, human and church ritual behavior (chapters l to 3), " modalities of performance," relating ritual to theater and reflecting on ritual's relationship to confession and ethics (chapters 5 and 6), and" ritual's social gifts," reflecting on the results of ritual: order, community and transformation of participants (chapters 7 to 9). In many ways the book's Conclusion and two Appendices betray Driver's slant on the state of contemporary Christian liturgy and ritual studies by offering critiques of the celebration of some Christian liturgies (Conclusion and Appendix A) and of the work of the ritual theorist Victor Turner (Appendix B). While there is nothing really new in this last part of the book, these sections offer a particularly clear view of where Driver stands, what his prejudices are, and how current his scholarship really is. Reading these last sections first would...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 700-703
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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