Edited by Gilbert C. Meilaender
“Meilaender is a writer of elegance and power; a thinker of subtlety and grace. He reminds us of the compelling and continuing force of Scriptural and theological understandings of work. Most importantly, in a time when work dominates so much of our livesor busyness does, at any ratehe asks us, through his commentary and selections, to ponder the meaning and role of work in our lives and to assess work within a wider framework of God’s creation and purpose for us.” Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago
“Who could have put together a quilt of passages as diverse and imaginatively patterned as the selections Gilbert Meilaender has chosenfrom Marx to Mark Twainfor this anthology on working? W. H. Auden perhaps. Gilbert Meilaender has also favored us with a wise and elegantly written introduction to a volume that should enrich personal reflection and stimulate classroom and public discussion.” William F. May, Cary M. Maguire Professor of Ethics, Southern Methodist University
The wide range of readings in _Working: Its Meaning and Its Limits _proposes different ways of thinking about something most of us do every daywork. As part of the Ethics of Everyday Life series, these readings are an invitation to reflection and conversation. They focus not on rules for the workplace or on dilemmas in business ethics but on one of the most fundamental aspects of human existence in every time and place.
Gilbert C. Meilaender presents varied readings that explore many of the ways in which human beings have thought about the role of work in lifeits meanings, its limits, and its relation to other obligations, to the life cycle, to play, and to rest. The readings in this volume range in time from the world of ancient Israel and the classical world of Greece and Rome to contemporary American society. They range in complexity from “The Little Red Hen” to philosophers such as Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre, and in genre from poetry by Kipling and George Herbert to essays by Dorothy Sayers and Roger Angell; from Tolstoy and Twain to Marx, Aristotle, and Karl Barthall placed in the context of an extended discussion of the meaning of work in human life by Meilaender’s introduction.
_Working: Its Meaning and Its Limits _enables any reader interested in understanding the moral and spiritual significance of work in our lives to enter into a conversation not only about what we do but who we are.
“This anthology as a whole will promote important reflections on the ‘ethical’ meaning of work and is highly recommended for undergraduate, theological, and public libraries. A very valuable resource for undergraduate courses in ethics.” Choice Magazine
“This volume provides a fine resource for serious reflectionin the context of our Western moral heritageon how the working life might become a more integral part of the good life.” Religion and Liberty
“… a fascinating, instructive and entertaining anthology…” Church & Synagogue Libraries
“…shining gems of reflection and narrative. It is both a thoughtful and accessible compilation.” Religious Studies Review
“[A] fascinating, instructive and entertaining anthology on the subject. It is a worthy resource for all congregational libraries.” Church and Synagogue Libraries
“Working is a treasure of 75 selections from sources as diverse as Aristotle, Xenophon, and the Bible, to Longfellow, Marx, Michael Novak and Josef Pieper. Meilaender deserves our gratitude for bringing together such a workman-like short library of poetry, fiction, and thoughtfulness. Anyone who works or thinks about work will find something here to nourish his soul.” Pro Ecclesia
“Meilaender’s lends itself to a leisurely pace: its excerpts can be read randomly and reflectively. …a tool-chest for anyone who wishes to think through the relation between God’s calling and our daily tasks.” Vocation
A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2001