cover image Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words

Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words

Stanley M. Hauerwas. Brazos Press, $14.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-1-58743-131-9

This spare and unsparing book of meditations by Hauerwas, a professor of theological ethics at Duke, departs from the style of some of his other work. The theologian's characteristic wit is absent (""There is no humor in these meditations,"" he cautions readers at the outset), and his usual aggressive style vis-a-vis other thinkers has been considerably muted. However, Hauerwas readers will recognize his customary iconoclasm, emphasis on the Trinity and determination to begin any theological conversation with God, not with human experience. Hauerwas strips down the seven last sayings of Jesus to their barest essence, refusing to psychologize or proffer easy explanations for hard truths. For the third saying (""Woman, behold thy son!""), he points out that the Jesus of the New Testament was nothing if not anti-family, and then launches into an utterly fascinating argument that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is presented as the ""new Abraham"" throughout the Gospels and the Book of Hebrews. Many readers will find it refreshing to see a Protestant theologian recognize Mary's unique role in salvation and in the church. One note of caution: although these essays are short and the entire book clocks in at right around 100 pages, even serious readers will find that this is not a collection to be consumed in a single sitting. It would make excellent devotional reading for all of Holy Week, using each reflection for a full day's rumination.