All Too Alienable

Rights and Wrongs
Nicholas Wolterstorff
Princeton University Press, $24.95, 416 pp.

In the 1970s the philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff witnessed first-hand what happens when a people tries to replace justice with goodwill. In order to justify their position, the Afrikaners insisted that they were “a charitable people” and their policies would eventually work toward the common good. Here Wolterstorff saw, “as never before, the good overwhelming the just” and benevolence used as an “instrument of oppression.” The only cure for this, he believes, is to ground justice in the...

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About the Author

Gary A. Anderson is the Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame. This essay is adapted from portions of the author’s new book, Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition (Yale, 2013). 

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