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Rowan's Rule: The Biography of the Archbishop of Canterbury Hardcover – 24 Feb 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (24 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802864619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802864611
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,004,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The Sunday Times"
"Written with the Archbishop's cooperation, this excellent biography of the Primate of all England is theologically heavyweight, psychologically perceptive, and sometimes strikingly critical. Indeed, the fact that Rowan Williams has cooperated with such a warts-and-all portrait tells you a great deal about him."
"The Tablet"
"An eminently fair-minded biography. . . . Rupert Shortt is exceptionally qualified for the task he has taken on."
John Habgood, former Archbishop of York
"A major piece of work, as acute and well-informed politically as it is theologically. The sympathetic portrait of Rowan Williams as a profound and inspiring man of God is not allowed to hide his practical and political weaknesses and inconsistencies, nor the inevitable conflicts between personal belief and public policy. Rupert Shortt is to be congratulated for this timely assessment of a remarkable, gifted, and much-maligned leader."
John Austin Baker in"Church Times"
"This biography is timely and welcome. . . . We can be grateful for a work that is strong on empathy, but also balanced and fair in its judgments. The style is eminently readable, without ever being trite."
A. N. Wilson in"The Times Literary Supplement"
"Rupert Shortt's book triumphantly justifies itself. This is not just an instant biography of someone who happens to be in the news. It is a serious and learned book with a specific theme. That theme is the survival of Christianity in our midst. . . . The voice of Rowan Williams is, for many of us, a very attractive one, and Rupert Shortt has explained why.""

Book Description

Reviled and adored in equal measure, and constantly in the news for his controversial statements, this newly updated biography explores both the public and private sides of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a superb biography. The new chapters take the story of Rowan's time at Lambeth to their sad and perhaps inevitable conclusion. Shortt knows Church of England politics well and his account of the gruelling manoeuvres around women bishops and the Covenant are both deeply convincing and poignant. But it is not all doom and gloom in these chapters as the General Synod and the dioceses in the Church of England consistently defied Rowan's wishes. What is also here in the new chapters is a fascinating account of his spirituality,his teaching and his humanity with those who seek after God; also there is his deep and abiding theological influence, his costly support for Anglican provinces such as Zimbabwe and a shrewd analysis of his political views. The book conveys very well what a giant Rowan is. It is well worth buying for these chapters alone. Rowan has never been better portrayed and this biography will last for many years.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First published in 2008, this new edition includes an extra 100 pages to bring the story up to date, while including some fascinating material from earlier years by way of comparison. It really helps that Rupert Shortt has a sound grasp of both church politics and theology. He doesn't hold back in these extra chapters from outlining some of Rowan Williams' most profound thinking on Augustine. The balance is perfect between presenting facts, forming judgements, and leaving the reader with questions. Many called for +Rowan to be more politically shrewd and strategic, but would that have been possible without losing this: "...time and again people of very different backgrounds have observed that meeting the Archbishop left them with a thirst to pray more. It is a rare gift."
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Format: Kindle Edition
I warmly endorse all of the enthusiastic reviews of this biography and thoroughly recommend it. However, I have some reservations when it comes to Rupert Shortt's assessments of Rowan Williams's forays into the realm of politics. Arguing from his own mild right-of-centre perspectives, he conspicuously abandons his usual acuity and rather condescendingly presents a caricature of Rowan Williams as a naive 'woolly liberal' who fails to acknowledge the 'practical' challenges which his vision entails. Shortt's criticism of the Archbishop's stance on nuclear weapons for example, has a whiff of the school debating society as he simply reiterates the standard well-rehearsed politician's arguments in favour of MAD, ignoring the much more complex moral and practical isues involved in changing cold war mind-sets.

Rowan Williams's criticisms of the excesses of market capitalism are discredited, in Shortt's mind, because he fails to acknowledge its benefits. This seems an odd idea of balance....and an even odder idea of the Archbishop's role. I suppose Jesus ought to have recognised the important contribution which the temple money-changers made to the economic viability of the temple before he threw them out. In the same area, the Archbishop's (and the church's) approach to the issue of growing social inequality is very briskly brushed aside by Shortt with the usual contentious 'trickle down' argument

Perhaps the oddest - and dare I say most preposterous - complaint by Rupertt Short is that, when criticising the conduct of America's and Britain's leaders over the invasion of Iraq and the so-called 'war on terror', Rowan Williams was insufficiently balanced (that word again) because he failed to condemn the terrorists.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very interesting book. Delivered promptly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heavy reading. Well researched.
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