The Character of Virtue
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More About This Title The Character of Virtue


Candid wisdom from a renowned theologian on living well

From the fairy godmother’s pumpkin coach to Herr Drossel-meyer’s nutcracker, godparents have long been associated with good gifts. In The Character of Virtue theologian and ethicist Stanley Hauerwas offers his real-life godson something far more precious than toys or trinkets—the gift of hard-won wisdom on life and the process of maturing.

In each of fourteen letters—sent on the occasion of Laurence Wells’s baptism and every year thereafter—Hauerwas contem­plates a specific virtue and its meaning for a child growing year by year in the Christian faith. Writing on kindness, courage, humility, joy, and more, Hauerwas distills centuries of religious thinking and decades of self-reflection into heartfelt personal epistles packed with wit and punch. 

An introduction by Samuel Wells—Laurence’s father and Hauer­was’s friend—tells the story behind these letters and offers sage insight into what a godparent is and can be. 


Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke University. One of America's best known and most highly regarded living theologians, he is the author of many notable works, including Resident Aliens, A Community of Character, Living Gently in a Violent World, and Hannah's Child.