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Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel [Paperback]

By Rowan Williams (Author)
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Item description for Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel by Rowan Williams...

Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel by Rowan Williams

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Pilgrim Press
Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.66" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.46"
Weight:   0.41 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2003
Publisher   Pilgrim Press
ISBN  0829815414  
ISBN13  9780829815412  

Availability  0 units.

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. Glory of the Lord
  2. Making of the Christian Imagination
  3. Outstanding Christian Thinkers (Paperback Continuum)
  4. Voices from the Monastery

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Easter > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Easter
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Lent
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel?

Lively Theology  Aug 24, 2003
Last semester, I taught Introduction to Theology at my seminary with a soon-to-be ordained Episcopalian (the American 'flavour' for Anglican), and we used as the final book for the semester Rowan Williams' text 'Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel'. This relatively short text proved to be one of the more popular choices we've selected in the several years of teaching together. In its latest version, this book has a forward by Paul Minear, who writes of the difficulty about addressing a topic like the resurrection. Minear warns that 'resurrection language' can end up being meaningless, circular, self-reflective and idolatrous. Williams, at least in Minear's estimation, avoids these pitfalls.

Much of the language of Jewish and Christian scripture is metaphor, some of it explicitly so (parables, for instance), but other parts not so easily discerned (is the Genesis creation account metaphor or to be taken literally). Williams takes the resurrection as the ultimate metaphor that has the power to make things real. This reality is not just something that happened once upon a time, in a land far far away, but something that is real for us today, something present in our own lives and spiritual beings.

There are aspects Williams does not specifically address. This is not a Jesus Seminar text, in search of the 'real' Jesus -- it is not looking for a newspaper-ish reporting of events during a particular week in early first century surrounding the execution of religious subversive. Williams is not creating a new exegesis, scientific or otherwise. However, Williams does not discount modern scholarship, and is willing to engage both the substance and methods of scholarship as it relates to his main thesis.

Williams is a careful scholar, but this is not the extent of his writing, and this particular text, while decidedly theological, involves much more personal reflection and contemplation than research and exposition. Williams borrows a term from Karl Barth -- irregular dogmatics -- to describe some of his methodology. This is a style that comes closer to preaching than to lecturing; it is way of theologising that is closer to mystical experience than to rational construction. However, it is not to be seen as a way of leaving aside the need for a careful and responsible approach to the subject.

Williams uses modern situations and issues such as racism, sexism, war and violence to demonstrate the need for resurrection presence in our lives. He also draws the examples directly back to the biblical texts and witnesses, to highlight the enduring qualities of such stories. Drawing on literary references such as the Brothers Karamazov and Iris Murdoch, historical events such as the Holocaust, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and thinkers from all spectrums of theological thought, Williams traces out the importance of resurrection in modern times through the impact it had on ancient communities such as Jerusalem and Galilee. Recalling the theme of forgiveness and penitence, particularly in the experience of Paul, a former persecutor of the Church, he reflects of the importance of forgiveness and penitence today. Williams believes that all Christians are called to help their brothers and sisters to hope, to creativity, and find the most fulfilling way penitence can create resurrection in their own lives.

Williams opens up the church as an institution and a community of individuals to criticism and fallibility, something incredibly important in the face of continuing oppressive potential hierarchical institutions like the church possess. Just how this plays out in his personal actions as the new Archbishop of Canterbury and symbolic head of the Anglican communion, it will be interesting to watch. The inclusion of marginal characters in the gospel -- Williams points out that the first to experience the realisation of the resurrection were women, not part of the apostolic band, not generally respected as powerful or valid witnesses in society -- bodes well for his own ministry in the church, and he calls upon the rest of us to do the same.

There is also a great respect for silence in Williams' writing. He write about the lack of detail given about the actual resurrection event, even in elaborate gospels such as Matthew. Resurrection is in many ways indescribable, and early gospel witnesses were confronted with an ultimate event that defied ultimate expression in many ways, and in so doing became the ultimate metaphor.

Despite being a relatively short book (about 120 pages of text), this is not a quick read. It is the kind of book that begs for careful pondering, drawing the reader back to pages and sections over and over again for deeper thoughts and insights. Just as the resurrection is central to the Christian story, and has been recast and recalled countless times in 2000 years of history, so too will this book provide fresh approaches and insights to a familiar, yet strangely different, story.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Christian story, particularly Christians, but also others who want to better understand how one of the key leaders of Christianity today thinks about the relationship of Christianity to the rest of society and the rest of the world.

Absolutely Fantastic  Jul 5, 2003
This is the first theological work by the Archbishop Williams that I have ever read but upon reading it, it certainly won't be the last. While it is an intellectually demanding work, it is a work that is deeply rewarding on intellectual, personal and spiritual levels.

Williams' basic thesis is that the resurrection of Christ is central to the Christian message. He does not write this to downplay the crucifixion, but to show that the darkness of the crucifixion is brought to its fullness and completion in the resurrection. Williams illustrates this in multiple ways, but there are two in particular that I want to note below.

The first is Williams' engagement with original sin in the sense of personal guilt. It is only after we confront ourselves and see both our ability to victimize others and that we have actually done so that we can then turn to God through Christ and experience redemption.

The second, the idea of a redeemed language, is an idea that is very much central to this book. Even though the fullness of the resurrection may escape our words (and Williams uses the historical discrepancies in the resurrection narratives in the Gospels to illustrate this), this does not mean that our words are meaningless. Instead, our words are given meaning because they are rooted in a fullness that cannot be contained by them. The resurrection, so to speak, re-inspires our language.

As others have noted, Williams displays an incredible gift for synthesizing various strands of Christian thought into a brilliant whole without sacrificing any part of it. Liturgical practice and mystical theology, contemporary biblical criticism and philosophical acuity all meet in Williams' work in the best of ways. Despite his controversies, it may be true that the Archbishop Williams is one of the best voices in contemporary theology. This book certainly leads me to think so.

Extraordinary theological work  Aug 7, 2000
The richness of the content in this work can leave one using two paragraphs as the meditation material for a week, and still knowing one has barely scratched the surface. Bishop Williams not only skillfully develops the message of the resurrection itself, but incorporates elements of sacramental, ascetic, and mystic theology with brilliant, fresh insights. His section on the Eucharist, for example, has a depth that is a banquet for the mind and spirit.

This is not a work for the dilletante - it is blessedly difficult and immensely thought provoking. It was the first Rowan Williams book I read, and left me quite certain that he is one of the greatest living theologians. Five stars are hardly enough.


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