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On Christian Theology (Challenges in Contemporary Theology) [Paperback]

By Rowan Williams (Author)
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Item description for On Christian Theology (Challenges in Contemporary Theology) by Rowan Williams...

Overview
In this comprehensive collection of his work, Rowan Williams, one of the most significant theologians of his generation, tackles many of the most searching questions of theology and society at the end of the twentieth century. This is a book that bridges the gap between the academic, the spiritual and the political. It is the culmination of 20 years of teaching theology and of pastoral ministry, and reflects a continuing engagement with the patristic and medieval tradition of theology as well as with issues of contemporary theology and philosophy.Williams argues that theology moves constantly between the three registers of the celebratory, the communicative and the critical, and is held together by something not captured by any of these modes. He reflects on the fundamental connection between theology and self-awareness and self-critique, and discusses doctrinal issues - creation, incarnation, the Trinity - in this light. He addresses the nature of signs and sacraments and looks at the public and ethical embodiment of this theological vision.Overall, Williams presents a theological perspective acutely aware of the cultural and political crises of our time. He suggests that detachment from doctrinal tradition will not solve our problems and argues instead for an imaginative reworking of the doctrinal tradition, formed in an intense dialogue with modernity and postmodernity.

Publishers Description
In this comprehensive collection of his body of work, Rowan Williams tackles many of the most searching questions of theology and society at the end of the 20th century. His text bridges the gap between the academic, the spiritual and the political: it is the culmination of 20 years of teaching theology and of pastoral ministry, and reflects a continuing engagement with the patristic and medieval tradition of theology as well as with issues of contemporary theology and philosophy. Williams argues that theology moves constantly between the three registers of the celebratory, the communicative and the critical, and is held together by something not captured by any of these modes. He reflects on the fundamental connection between theology and self-awareness and self-critique, and discusses doctrinal issues - creation, incarnation, the Trinity - in this light. He addresses the nature of signs and sacraments and looks at the public and ethical embodiment of this theological vision. Overall, he presents a theological perspective acutely aware of the cultural and political crises of our time.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Wiley-Blackwell
Pages   310
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.03" Height: 0.95"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 4, 2000
Publisher   Wiley-Blackwell
Series  Challenges in Contemporary Theology  
ISBN  0631214402  
ISBN13  9780631214403  


Availability  51 units.
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More About Rowan Williams


Rowan Williams Rowan Williams was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in February 2003. His previous positions include Archbishop of Wales, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford and Dean of Clare College, Cambridge. He has taught theology for more than fifteen years in five continents, worked as a parish priest, and published widely. His previous publications include "Teresa of Avila" (1991), "Open to Judgment" (1994) and "Sergi Bulgakov" (1999).

Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, south Wales on 14 June 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor School in Swansea and Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate – in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought – at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.

Rowan Williams on his Graduation, Christ's College Cambridge, with Parents Aneurin and Delphine Williams, 1971From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained priest in 1978, and from 1980 as curate at St George's, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the university, and the following year became dean and chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.

Rowan Williams and Jane Paul on their Wedding Day, 1981In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. Thus it was that, in July 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.

Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics – as evidenced by his bibliography. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, since becoming archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues.

As Archbishop of Canterbury his principal responsibilities are however pastoral – leading the life and witness of the Church of England in general and his own diocese in particular by his teaching and oversight, and promoting and guiding the communion of the world-wide Anglican Church by the globally recognized ministry of unity that attaches to the office of bishop of the see of Canterbury.

His interests include music, fiction and languages.

In 1981 Dr Williams married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a daughter and a son.

Rowan Williams was born in 1950.

Rowan Williams has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Challenges in Contemporary Theology
  2. Glory of the Lord
  3. Literary Agenda
  4. Making of the Christian Imagination
  5. Outstanding Christian Thinkers (Paperback Continuum)
  6. Voices from the Monastery


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology



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Reviews - What do customers think about On Christian Theology (Challenges in Contemporary Theology)?

Great but difficult.  Mar 3, 2008
The Archbishop has packed this volume with deep thoughts and many profound observations. It is a delight for the throlgogian or seminary student. It is, however, very dense and it is at times very difficult to follow the line of thought without rereading the chapter again (and sometimes again and again).

 
Thought provoking book, matters of the heart for lay people, too...  Jan 15, 2006
Take on this "On Christian Theology" if you choose to learn more of religious things, like matters of the heart and unities in God. The writer, Rowan Williams, says, "Theology needs to make connections, to search out and display unities..." This book by the Archbishop of Canterbury does that, even for this lay man who spent time pondering over ideas and directions in a manner that required study as well as reading.

There are large subjects addressed, like "The Judgement of the World," where he addresses many like ideas: "The diffuse discontent that consumer pluralism can engender (although it largely contains and even utilizes it) yields itself readily to any program that dresses itself persuasively enough in moral rhetoric..." There's a taste of the theologian's writing.

You won't find this on a popular reading list, but certainly the publisher Blackwell has found a steady seller with this compilation. The subtitle is "Challenges in contemporary Christianity," and apt it is--of special interest to Christians in general and Episcopalians and Anglicans in particular. Afterall, the Archbishop is an Anglican. Here he remarks on the world and we as creatures in relation to God. Along the way he says what God is to us and creation. He calls this God's freedom: "...God in creation means that God cannot make a reality that then needs to be actively governed, subdued, bent to the divine purpose away from its natural course. If God creates freely, God does not need the power of a sovereign: what is, is from God." Sometimes the writing is clearer to me than others, which is my limitation. I understand, "what is, is from God." Here's an understandable statement, among many in an understandable book, from the chapter "On Being Creatures": "Being creatures is learning humility, not as submission to an alien will, but as the acceptance of limit and death..." He says for that we need moral imagination. One gets the idea of the scope of his concerns and thinking, which are matters of the heart and living.

In the chapter, "Word and Spirit" (again larger subjects, but fascinating and engaging ones to the Christian reader, and others I think), the author says what is extraordinary, or ordinary about the Christian human being. For afterall, this man can speak of being a Christian and of the Christian human being: "We can recognize perhaps more clearly the dispressure of the figure of the crucified Messiah: we can accept more readily the breaking of certain kinds of sacral barrier, so that 'Spirit' ceases to be confined to the extraordinary but becomes a qualification of Christian human being."

Some other chapters: "Triniity and Ontology," "Between the Cherubim," ("It will effectively be claiming tht what is vital to Christian discourse about the resurrection can be stated exclusively in terms of what happens to the minds and hearts of believers when proclamation is made that the victim of the crucifixion is the one through whom God continues to act and speak."), "Nature and Sacrament," "Sacraments of the New Society" ("...we are either bound together by being 'seen' by God as distant, as strangers, or bound together in a common assurance that we are received, affirmed, adopted."

Today, in this season of Epiphany, in the winter of California where I live, I wanted to write a poem for this review (a kind of review in itself). Here it is:

Epiphany Brings News
by Peter Menkin

The Winter is young,
Trees bare against a grey sky.
Rain here.

Epiphany brings news
To me of the resurrection's
Gifts.

Through this gift,
New creation,
In the cross-resurrection.

This Rowan Williams
Tells us these things;
Wait on the Christ-open heart.

This theologian I am reading
Says,
Shed enmity towards failures,

Enmity between people,
Shed this.
Then comes friendship with God.

Not matters of the mind,
Of the head,
But of the heart.

I think of Easter,
"the living of the believing life."

Our trust is in Easter.


Many people have said that Rowan Williams writes of the crisis in our world, even the back cover notes proclaim such: "Overall, Williams presents a theological perspective acutely aware of the cultural and political crises of our time..." I would be remiss to leave that statement out of this review. For me, though, I found this a book of spirit and interesting writing opening windows and doors during this winter season into a light on the Trinity and man's relation to God in Christ. This isn't a book for a quick read, and I enjoyed the studying of text, even where I knew I was becoming only familiar with terms and people. As I've begun to become familiar with Rowan William's writings, I think I chose a good book as part of that familiarization process.

Peter Menkin -- Epiphany

 
Helpful introduction to Williams' thought  Mar 31, 2000
This collection of essays is wide-ranging but exemplifies a consistent spirit. It is the spirit of a post-critical historic orthodox Christian theology which speaks from within the the community of those who worship the Triune God. Williams speaks from a position of solidarity with the patristic and medieval heritage, engaging contemporary issues in ways that are creative and thoughtful.
 

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