The role of witness is a recurring theme in the work of Stanley Hauerwas: it is through enacting the truth in a world of lies, through seeking peace in a world of violence, that witnesses show who God is, who we are, and what the world is like.
The Necessity of Witness is a study of Hauerwas and his fascinating but complex understanding of witness. Ariaan W. Baan argues that Hauerwas's approach makes a significant contribution to current debates in systematic theology on the relation between truth and life. Reading Hauerwas can be a precarious adventure. His rhetoric is overwhelming, but his argument is not always crystal clear and carefully formulated. With the help of semiotic and philosophical analysis and biblical exegesis, Baan articulates Hauerwas's intuitions, fills some of the gaps in his argumentation, and discloses hidden biases. The results of this analysis sometimes surprise. Baan notes that unexpected pericopes in Scripture such as Isaiah and Revelation support Hauerwas's account of witness, and concludes that his work offers insight into how in our late modern society such diverse groups as martyrs and pop stars offer implicit witness through their lives.