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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (9 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0232524904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0232524901
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rupert Shortt is Religion Editor of The Times Literary Supplement and a former Visiting Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford. He has contributed to a range of publications including The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Tablet and the Madrid-based Revista de Libros. His books include Christianophobia: A Faith under Attack, Rowan's Rule: The Biography of the Archbishop, Rowan Williams: An Introduction, God's Advocates: Christian Thinkers in Conversation, and Benedict XVI: Commander of the Faith.

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First Sentence
ROWAN DOUGLAS WILLIAMS almost died not long after birth. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 21 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is an intellectual in a political role. His politics are traditional left wing but his intellectual development and pronouncements have been far wider than that associated with political or philosophical debate. This has led to the charge that his theological thinking is woolly at best, a charge which is reinforced by his view that Anglicanism represents a "Christian identity that is dependent neither on a pyramidal view of authority nor on highly specific confessional statements".

Such woolliness suits Williams's capacity to be sympathetic towards those who hold traditional views on the ordination of women priests and the issue of homosexuality within the Church. His argument that faithful gay relationships could be accepted by all Christians who accept contraception is a powerful one. In political terms, however, it hardly provides clear leadership on two of the most devisive issues facing the Church of England as his personal sympathies are representative of one wing of the arguments rather than both sides.

Such woolliness too means that Williams can develop theological and philosophical speculations which, when analysed, have little substance. For example, the Christian faith is dependant on the historical fact of the resurrection. This is agreed by Christians and non-Christians alike, the former declaiming and the latter denying it. Williams sees it as "the existence of a fellowship marked by restoring grace". Correct but without affirming it as fact it can be used to undermine faith.

Evangelicals would suggest this is an example of a liberal desertion of the gospel message. In fairness to Williams he does not follow the intellectual route of amending doctrine to suit the prevailing culture.
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Format: Paperback
Another gift for my husband. He is currently reading this book and thinks it links in very well with the autobiography on Rowan Williams.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A great place to begin 28 Dec. 2003
By Kerry Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little book about the new Archbishop of Canterbury is of great value to Anglicans as well as non-Anglicans. Williams is a world-class Christian theologian (the first to occupy Canterbury since William Temple during WWII), but he's also a fine social commentator and evocative poet. Shortt's treatment provides a good overview of Williams' career as academic, parish priest (putting the lie to those who claim that Williams has no pastoral experience), and bishop. This information will fill in many gaps for readers who have only vague ideas of where Williams came from. More important, however, is Shortt's treatment of Williams' philosophy, theology, spirituality, and politics. Williams comes across as a very traditional defender of the Anglican via media when it comes to ecclesiological issues, but as something of a mystic in matters theological. He's very taken, for example, with the mystery--contradiction, a secular logician might say--that lies at the heart of Christianity: God become human, the darkness of faith as brilliance, and so on. One suspects that his mystical leanings stem from both his Welsh background and his absorption of Eastern Christianity, both Greek and Russian Orthodoxy. A pleasant surprise along the way is Shortt's brief discussion of the influence of Gillian Rose on Williams. I wasn't familiar with Rose's work before this book. She's well worth reading in her own right.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Best intro to Rowan Williams 23 April 2004
By Stephen L. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a marvelous little book. It shows how and why Rowan Williams defies simple categorization. Don't let the brevity of the book fool you - it's packed with insights about Williams' thought and it will make YOU think. Highly recommended!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Williams raises eyebrows 12 Mar. 2010
By J. H. Stephenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son, who is a voracious reader, refers to Rowan Williams as "An Hairy Man" (thank you, Alan Bennett). But beard and eyebrows notwithstanding there is nothing hairy about + Rowan Cantuar's thinking. Complex, perhaps, but the field of human endeavour over which his mind ranges is vast, and this "introduction", now supplemented by the author's more recent "Rowan's Rule" gives valuable insights into the mind of a clear-thinking theologian who is doing his best to keep the hallowed traditions of Christianity and the fresh thought of our often turbulent times in creative tension.
Readers who want to chart the consistencies and the developments of Williams' writings have been well served by Rupert Shortt's informed and informative volumes.
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