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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book - better than five star!
...For me, one of Rowan Williams' enormous strengths is that he makes theology directly relevant to everyday life and, if you follow (and more or less agree with) the thread of his argument, you have no choice but to reassess your own life. Far from being distracted by the `political correctness' I found myself quite humbled by it - much though the less marginalized of us...
Published on 31 Dec 2001 by jessica@jkp.com

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13 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been far better
Having familiarity with other works by this author, I found this book quite disappointing. Bishop Rowan is an outstanding theologian, yet the excellence of his points can easily be lost in his attempt to (poorly) integrate political and social references which he seems to assume are important to all readers.
His references to violence, usually on the larger scale...
Published on 29 Mar 2001


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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book - better than five star!, 31 Dec 2001
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This review is from: Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement (Paperback)
...For me, one of Rowan Williams' enormous strengths is that he makes theology directly relevant to everyday life and, if you follow (and more or less agree with) the thread of his argument, you have no choice but to reassess your own life. Far from being distracted by the `political correctness' I found myself quite humbled by it - much though the less marginalized of us would like to be able to dismiss sexist or disablist language as boring and trivial, I think I am beginning to see that it's really not good enough to do that. Far from finding reference to atrocity too far from my everyday life to have significance or real meaning, this book put me on the spot and made me understand better why I cannot pretend that it has nothing to do with me... for most of us the business of Lent has to do with the world, not with abstractions.
Actually I loved this book. I have grown used to Rowan Williams' disarming way of drawing you in simply and logically - and interestingly - until you suddenly find you have to read more and more slowly and carefully, so I was not unduly surprised to find myself struggling towards the end. But it's worth every ounce of effort and, like Lost Icons, if you then look back to the beginning, it turns out that's not quite so simple after all. The thing is, both these books are incredibly rich, and one can draw a wide range of things from them. As someone not used to the language of theology, it was great to find that there wasn't anything there I couldn't understand if I put my mind to it, while realizing that there is a huge body of knowledge available if one wants to dig deeper. I really like the way that Rowan Williams uses illustrations from fiction and theatre - it much enriches my understanding of what he is saying, and incidentally provides a fantastic reading list of books I am pretty sure I am going to enjoy.
For me when I first read it, the central message of Lost Icons was `you can only do your best'. Christ on Trial finishes the sentence `and the more you do that, the more difficult it gets' - both a daunting and rather a comforting message, implying a certain fellowship with people who are doing their best better than I have learnt how to, but are not finding it a doddle. I can live with that (I think!). Whatever you take from it, this is a really stimulating book - it deserves a lot more stars than the Amazon maximum!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brief but profound, 14 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement (Paperback)
For the apprentice theologian, 'Christ on Trial' provides a solid introductory study in the analysis and deconstruction of the Gospels. Williams puts his own interpretation on seemingly innocuous aspects of the trial story; discussing choices of language ('I am' as opposed to 'You have said it') in such depth that it really brings home how the minutiae of the bible have been the focus of debate for centuries. The arguments are presented logically and with just enough touches of humour. With plenty of tie-ins to contemporary culture, this brief work is thought-provoking and relevant. You may or may not agree with his conclusions but if you are embarking on a course of study in this area, Williams gives a good example of how it should be approached.
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13 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been far better, 29 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement (Paperback)
Having familiarity with other works by this author, I found this book quite disappointing. Bishop Rowan is an outstanding theologian, yet the excellence of his points can easily be lost in his attempt to (poorly) integrate political and social references which he seems to assume are important to all readers.
His references to violence, usually on the larger scale (such as Auschwitz or lynch mobs), are distressingly accurate, but the points more relevant to most people's own lives can be lost in the shuffle. Strong points, such as those regarding language and worship, are blunted when he assumes that inclusive language is the most important example. The impact of the beginning of the section regarding the Passion narrative in the Gospel of John was lost when he started with the presumption that readers would consider it the "anti-Semitic" gospel.
Our church used this book for a Lenten series, and group discussion of the theological points was invariably ruined because it was diverted into consideration of our political views and those of His Grace.
His Grace is far too brilliant and insightful a theologian to have the meat drowned in a sauce of political correctness. Rather than making the points more accessible or understandable, such references lead to the inward sigh of, "oh, here we go again..."
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Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement
Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement by Rowan Williams (Paperback - 17 Nov 2000)
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