Edited by Debra Erickson and Michael Le Chevallier
Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941–2013) was a noted ethicist, political philosopher, and public intellectual. Her four decades of scholarship defy easy categorization: she wrote both seminal works of theory and occasional pieces for the popular press, and she was variously viewed as radical and conservative, feminist and traditionalist, anti-war and pro-interventionist. _ Bethke Elshtain: Politics, Ethics, and Society_ is the first attempt to evaluate Elshtain’s entire published body of work and to give shape to a wide-ranging scholarly career, with an eye to her work’s ongoing relevance. This collection of essays brings together scholars and public intellectuals from across the spectrum of disciplines in which Elshtain wrote.
The volume is organized around four themes, which identify the central concerns that shaped Elshtain’s thought: (1) the nature of politics; (2) politics and religion; (3) international relations and just war; and (4) the end(s) of political life. The essays have been chosen not only for the expertise of each contributor as it bears on Elshtain’s work but also for their interpretive and analytic scope. This volume introduces readers to the work of a key contemporary thinker, using Elshtain’s writing as a lens through which to reflect on central political and scholarly debates of the last few decades. _Jean Bethke Elshtain _ will be of great interest to specialists researching Elshtain and to scholars of multiple disciplines, particularly political theory, international relations, and religion.
Contributors: Debra Erickson, Michael Le Chevallier, Robin W. Lovin, William A. Galston, Arlene W. Saxonhouse, Don Browning, Peter Berkowitz, Nancy J. Hirschmann, Michael Kessler, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Nigel Biggar, Gilbert Meilaender, Eric Gregory, Daniel Philpott, Marc LiVecche, Nicholas Rengger, John D. Carlson, Chris Brown, Michael Walzer, James Turner Johnson, Erik Owens, Francis Fukuyama, Carl Gershman, and Patrick J. Deneen.
“This book is interdisciplinary, generative, and comprehensive in its aims. It truly establishes the significance of Elshtain’s political thought for intersecting fields of politics, political and social ethics, political theology, sexual-gender politics, and social problems. Many of the contributors are a virtual listing of ’Who’s Who’ in religious, social, and political ethics and political theorists.” — Victor Anderson, Oberlin Theological School Professor of Ethics and Society at the Divinity School, Vanderbilt University
“What a wonderful tribute this collection of essays is to the person and work of Jean Elshtain who, for some forty years, was one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals. The essays, of uniformly high quality, are both admiring and critical of Elshtain’s work, lucidly expounding and engaging her thought while also making creative contributions of their own to political theory and social analysis. Suffusing the entire collection is the evident love these writers had, and continue to have, for the winsome, engaged, brilliant, and magnetic person that was Jean Elshtain.” — Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University
“Debra Erickson and Michael Le Chevallier’s collection is in every way a fitting tribute to Jean Elshtain: essays by thoughtful scholars of a wide range of disciplines and viewpoints, from doctoral students to distinguished professors, covering the full range of her work from feminism to sovereignty to just war. The essays are both stimulating reading in themselves and a compelling invitation to read or reread Elshtain’s own writings.” — Nathan Tarcov, Karl J. Weintraub Professor of Social Thought and Political Science and in the College, The University of Chicago
“Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941–2013) was a distinguished political philosopher who opposed many dominant trends in her field. As the contributors to this volume point out, she closely related personal life and politics. . . . A valuable work for anyone interested in political theory and a useful companion to Elshtain’s own books, such as Sovereignty: God, State, and Self and Just War Against Terror.” — Library Journal