The role of witness is a recurring theme in the work of Stanley Hauerwas: it is through enacting the truth in a world of lies, through seeking peace in a world of violence, that witnesses show who God is, who we are, and what the world is like.
The Necessity of Witness is a study of Hauerwas and his fascinating but complex understanding of witness. Ariaan W. Baan argues that Hauerwas's approach makes a significant contribution to current debates in systematic theology on the relation between truth and life. Reading Hauerwas can be a precarious adventure. His rhetoric is overwhelming, but his argument is not always crystal clear and carefully formulated. With the help of semiotic and philosophical analysis and biblical exegesis, Baan articulates Hauerwas's intuitions, fills some of the gaps in his argumentation, and discloses hidden biases. The results of this analysis sometimes surprise. Baan notes that unexpected pericopes in Scripture such as Isaiah and Revelation support Hauerwas's account of witness, and concludes that his work offers insight into how in our late modern society such diverse groups as martyrs and pop stars offer implicit witness through their lives.
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Ariaan Baan studied theology at the Protestant Theological University of the Netherlands. In 2014 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis. He now works as a pastor of the Protestant Church in Zoutkamp and Scheemda, two villages in the northern part of the Netherlands.Review:
''Ariaan Baan does a great service to the discourse of Public Theology by offering a systematic theological discussion of the views of Stanley Hauerwas on the Christian practice of witness. His book . . . sheds light on the quest to go public with Christian faith in pluralistic societies. And this entails, amongst others, that Christian engagement with public life does not imply that thicker theological convictions should be hid or left home.''
--Nico Koopman, Professor of Christian Ethics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
''Ariaan Baan deftly navigates Stanley Hauerwas' indirect theological method and identifies an illuminating and persistent theme for understanding his articulations of truth, Spirit, and Church--his account of Christian witness as a 'testimony of life.' . . . Baan's work makes a unique contribution to theology by developing a framework for examining and evaluating theological reflection on Christian witness.''
--Benjamin Cooper, Professor of Discipleship and Mission, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI
''This theologically reflected book uniquely presents 'the necessity witness' as a crucial element of Christian practice and living. Ariaan Baan unfolds the rich biblical traditions of witness in its systematic contours . . . and the understanding of witness within the context of Stanley Hauerwas' work, the most pointed guide for the theological tradition of 'witness.'''
--Hans G. Ulrich, Professor of Systematic Theology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen, Germany --Wipf and Stock Publishers
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