Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Noting the Additions and Replacements in the New Second Edition of the Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics

I was both excited and dismayed to notice at AAR that a second edition of The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (edited by Stanley Hauerwas and Samuel Wells) has been published. (Excitement at potential new or edited material; dismay because I already shelled out money for the first one!) This may be old news to some, but I had no idea, so I was especially surprised when I realized not only that new chapters have been added, but also that some have been removed and replaced by new versions by different authors. Since I haven't seen this sort of comparison anywhere else, I thought I would make note of it if anyone else is interested.

Excised chapters from the first edition

Part V: Re-Enacting the Story
27. Breaking Bread: Peace and War (Gerald W. Schlabach)
28. Receiving Communion: Euthanasia, Suicide, and Letting Die (Carol Bailey Stoneking)
32. Being Thankful: Parenting the Mentally Disabled (Hans S. Reinders)
New chapters in the second edition (whether in addition or replacement)

Part II: Meeting God and One Another
11. Praise: The Prophetic Public Presence of the Mentally Disabled (Brian Brock)
Part IV: Being Embodied
20. Interceding: Standing, Kneeling, and Gender (Lauren F. Winner)
21. Being Baptized: Race (Willie Jennings)
25. Sharing Peace: Class, Hierarchy, and Christian Social Order (Luke Bretherton)
Part V: Re-Enacting the Story
31. Breaking Bread: Peace and War (Stanley Hauerwas and Samuel Wells)
32. Receiving Communion: Euthanasia, Suicide, and Letting Die (Kathryn Greene-McCreight)
Part VI: Being Commissioned
40. The Virtue of the Liturgy (Jennifer Herdt)
The additions all look wonderful, of course. The only question is why the three excised chapters were replaced by newly written ones by different authors. Assuming the best (i.e., not weird academic politics, but rather reasons of mutual agreement or subpar quality or lack of fittingness or whatever), at the very least it should make for useful and interesting comparison.


  1. Hauerwas and Wells write in the preface to 2nd ed: 'there was nothing "wrong" with the original chapters on those topics, but we simply thought it would be interesting to have those topics addressed from a fresh perspective'

  2. Well there you go. Not of course exactly revealing, but at least they address it. (It is revealing, however, of the fact that I have not shelled out for the second edition just yet. Thanks for the comment.)

  3. a fresh perspective or a Duke connection?

  4. Josh,

    At first glance, perhaps; but Greene-McCreight isn't at Duke nor went there, and the same for Brock. (Brock was [is?] a guest-whatever at Duke, even while at Aberdeen, but then Hauerwas takes every chance he has to recommend and praise Reinders' book.) And the replacement for Schlabach is Hauerwas/Wells themselves, not someone else.

    In any case, the idea is plausible, but doesn't seem to be a very satisfying explanation to me.