The book, Why Study the Past, published in 2005 shows the multiple layers of the Archbishop, as philosopher and theologian, adapt at the study of history and philosophy.
Although the book is a difficult read, the common theme and intention of the book is to deal with the question of the current view of Unity within the modern Church. Williams takes the Wittgenstein deconstructive view and asks us to consider again our perceived ideas of Unity in the early church, and later our view of Authority and consider the true complexity of the Church. This complexity, according to Dr. Williams, is construed as being not as transient humans with a hotchpotch of experiences, but as a common theme with our relationship with something `other'; and that `other' being in common with many other faiths that seek to grapple with the understanding of the divine and its interplay with us within a faith community such as the Christian Church.
Williams seeks to show how histories view of Unity can be played, either as a Marxist singularity with a particular advantage, offering a polished and manipulated aspect on the issue of our modern view of unity, or to read History with depth, to seek out the veritas of the subject and the individuals.
So why is the Archbishop of Canterbury so interested in Unity? In short he, in common with many Anglicans, is worried about divisions within the Church, in particular the arguments regarding the ordination of practicing homosexuals and women both to the clergy and the consideration of them to the episcopacy. Williams turns away from seeking high theological answers to these complex and angst ridden theological questions, and instead concentrates on about facing God and seeing God looking back at us. Williams' conclusion is refreshing and uncluttered: that Christian Unity ultimately rests on that we can still say the Psalms or pray the Lord's Prayer together as a community of believers.