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Why Study the Past? Paperback – 1 Apr 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (1 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0232525498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0232525496
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Christianity Today, "Award of Merit, History/Biography"(2006)"The Living Church" "A refreshing and clear case for the importance of church history in Christian life today. . . An extended and often beautiful reflection on the communion of saints.""

Christianity Today, Award of Merit, History/Biography (2006)

The Living Church
-A refreshing and clear case for the importance of church history in Christian life today. . . An extended and often beautiful reflection on the communion of saints.- --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Rowan Williams was Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012, and is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He has written 5 books for DLT. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
Reading this book gave me a much better understanding of why the church is the way it is, why certain traditions exist in different wings of the church and the Godly root of each. I think it will help me communicate more effectively with people in different christian traditions to me.

It also gave me a better understanding of Rowan Williams - his depth of thought, his compassion, his love for God and for the church.

I won't deny that it was quite a challenging read, though - I certainly wouln't like to play Rowan Williams at scrabble!
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book which is very well argued and very helpful to people struggling with the necessity to look at history. More than that however, Williams does not get bogged down in detail and academic intimacies rather he presents information in positive manner so that the church can look forward referring to its past, neither brushing it under the carpet, nor dwelling on it, but to learn to help to come to undertanding of the direction it must pursue.
As with much Williams, this contains wisdom that leads one to want to read more and more and think beoynd the usual spectrum.
How well people could do to listen to the advice in this short, very approachable book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A pleasure to read- clear, logical and in many places surprisingly uplifting (e.g. section 1 of Chapter 4). Archbishop Williams explains why studying history is not only important to everyone, but particularly for Christians studying the history of the Church. In doing so, he handles complex theological issues deftly, avoiding baffling or overwhelming those of us who are naive in such matters, but also without seeming condescending. Thoroughly recommended.
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