Print this page Share

Dust that Breathes: Christian Faith and the New Humanisms

ISBN: 978-1-4443-9280-7
256 pages
December 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Dust that Breathes: Christian Faith and the New Humanisms (1444392808) cover image


In this insightful and look at the practical challenges and possibilities for Christian life in the global age, Schweiker investigates Christianity’s current relevance and discusses how the life of faith can be oriented.
  • Explores the big religious themes of modern life, including religious identity in global times, the role of conscience, integrity, and versions of religious humanism
  • Written by an author who is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading theologians
  • Draws on the work of some prominent contemporary philosophers and theologians to clarify the nature of faith
  • Unique in its appreciation of the ambiguity of religion – in its representations of the highest human achievements as well as the very worst of human actions – using a balanced and engaged approach to discusses contentious theological and intellectual issues
See More

Table of Contents



Part I: Topics.

1. The Specter of Religious Identity.

2. Humanizing Religion.

3. Conscience and Spiritual Conviction.

4. Metaphors of the Soul.

5. Voices of Neohumanism.

6. The Christ of Christian Humanism.

Part II: Thinkers.

7. Human Only Human?

8. Goodness and Fictive Persons.

9. Reverence for Life -- The Spirit of Life.

10. Sovereign Expressions of Life.

11. Ecstatic Humanism.

12. On Christian and Theological Humanism.


See More

Author Information

William Schweiker is the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chicago and he is the Director of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. His many books include Responsibility and Christian Ethics (1995), Power, Value and Conviction: Theological Ethics in the Postmodern Age (1998), Theological Ethics and Global Dynamics: In the Time of Many Worlds (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), and Religion and the Human Future (with David Klemm, Wiley-Blackwell, 2008). Schweiker has published numerous articles and award-winning essays, and has edited and contributed to six volumes, including Humanity Before God: Contemporary Faces of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Ethics (2006), and The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004, 2008).
See More


"The recovery of a chastened humanistic perspective and agenda is a global imperative. William Schweiker critically examines topics that have historically claimed the humanist title, weaving together a vision that builds upon them yet goes well beyond. With skill and passion he provides insight into what it means to live the life of faith today. This is a seminal text from an author who is at the forefront of the debate, deserving a wide readership."
John W. de Gruchy, Emeritus Professor of Christian Studies, University of Cape Town

"The Dust That Breathes reinstates religious humanism in the light of the challenges of globalization, multiculturalism, and the looming ecological catastrophe threatening our planet. Although inflected with Christian theological imagery and concepts, Schweiker's vision addresses all men and women of religious faith who share an urgent sense of responsibility to secure the divinely created order and the dignity of human existence. It deserves to receive wide attention."
Paul Mendes-Flohr, Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, The Divinity School, University of Chicago

"In Dust that Breaths, the renowned North American ethicist William Schweiker continues to portray the stance towards life that he has made known as theological humanism. The reader is taken on a fascinating journey ... in a text that combines a humanistic pathos with a thick theological anthropology, constructive use of particularly Christian sources, and moral realism. It is a difficult and exciting endeavor. It is carried out with the help of Schweiker’s learnedness and his trademark ability to integrate a quest for intersubjectivity with openness for great complexity and ongoing change."
Per Sundman, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University

See More
Back to Top