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Anglican Identities [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   149
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 25, 2004
Publisher   Cowley Publications
ISBN  1561012548  
EAN  9781561012541  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Is there an "Anglican identity"? Or is living with the tension between different temperaments and histories itself at the heart of the genius of Anglicanism? Anglican Identities draws together studies and profiles by Rowan Williams that sympathetically explore approaches to scripture, tradition, and authority that are very different yet at the same time distinctively Anglican. William Tyndale, Richard Hooker, George Herbert, B. F. Westcott, Michael Ramsey, and John A. T. Robinson are among the writers and theologians whose work Archbishop Williams explores. Williams resists easy characterizations and makes surprising connections between apparently opposing positions. In his study of the Victorian biblical scholar B. F. Westcott, for example, he suggests that we might begin to identify a style of Anglican liberalism that is rather different from what liberalism is commonly supposed to be. Significantly, the name that recurs most often in these essays is that of Richard Hooker: tantalizingly hard to pigeonhole like the Anglican tradition as a whole. Anglican Identities conveys the richness of the Anglican mosaic without ducking the difficult question of how far diversity can stretch before a common tradition begins to fragment."

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More About Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams Rowan Williams was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in February 2003. His previous positions include Archbishop of Wales, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford and Dean of Clare College, Cambridge. He has taught theology for more than fifteen years in five continents, worked as a parish priest, and published widely. His previous publications include "Teresa of Avila" (1991), "Open to Judgment" (1994) and "Sergi Bulgakov" (1999).

Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, south Wales on 14 June 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor School in Swansea and Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate – in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought – at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.

Rowan Williams on his Graduation, Christ's College Cambridge, with Parents Aneurin and Delphine Williams, 1971From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained priest in 1978, and from 1980 as curate at St George's, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the university, and the following year became dean and chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.

Rowan Williams and Jane Paul on their Wedding Day, 1981In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. Thus it was that, in July 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.

Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics – as evidenced by his bibliography. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, since becoming archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues.

As Archbishop of Canterbury his principal responsibilities are however pastoral – leading the life and witness of the Church of England in general and his own diocese in particular by his teaching and oversight, and promoting and guiding the communion of the world-wide Anglican Church by the globally recognized ministry of unity that attaches to the office of bishop of the see of Canterbury.

His interests include music, fiction and languages.

In 1981 Dr Williams married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a daughter and a son.

Rowan Williams was born in 1950.

Rowan Williams has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Voices from the Monastery

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Theological Difficulties as a Chorus of Voices  Feb 26, 2005
Amidst all the furor in the last year and a half concerning whether or not the Anglican Communion was - and is - likely to last, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, released this collection of essays on Anglicanism/s in hopes that "these 'identities' may allow and encourage for some readers a pause for mind and feeling to be reintroduced to 'passionate patience.'" (pp. 7 & 8) What follows these closing remarks in the introduction are not just 8 chapters devoted to different Anglican thinkers; instead, along with his historical investigations are a number of theological illuminations that are, quite simply, brilliant:

"Doctrine is about our end (and our beginning); about what in our humanity is not negotiable, dispensable, vulnerable to revision according to political convenience or cultural chance and fashion. Deny this, and you must say that humanity or the human good is, in some significant way, within our power to determine: which may sound emancipatory for a few minutes, until you remember that, in a violent and oppressive world, it is neither good news nor good sense to propose that definitions of the human lie in human hands, when those hands are by no means guaranteed to be the instruments of a mind formed by contemplative reason - or even what passes for reason in the liberal and universalist ethos of 'our' democracies."
- p. 55

"...theological language is a difficult, always incomplete, corruptible, but unavoidable enterprise, pressed into existence by the particular character of what God is perceived as doing, by the sense of a givenness or gratuity bearing on the human situation in such a way that a difference is made that demands new words and concepts."
- p. 108

What Williams most seeks to do here - as in other places - is to enter into a charitable dialogue with some of the important - even if not necessarily great - Anglican voices of the past. This charitable dialogue is not without criticism at points; but equally, it is not without appreciation. Reading Williams reading others is like watching someone look into a photo album and pull out all sorts of interesting bits about *us* and where we are at today by noticing the style of bicycle that the child in the photo is riding or the type of dress that a woman is wearing *then*. This is a book to go back through more than once.

There are eight chapters in the book:

1. Williams Tyndale (1491 - 1536): The Christian Society
2. Richard Hooker (1554 - 1600): Contemplative Pragmatism
3. Richard Hooker (1554 - 1600): Philosopher, Anglican, Contemporary
4. George Herbert (1593 - 1633): Inside Herbert's Afflictions
5. B.F. Westcott (1825 - 1901): The Fate of Liberal Anglicanism
6. Michael Ramsey (1904 - 1988): Theology and the Churches
7. John A. T. Robinson (1919 - 1983): Honest to God and the 1960s
8. B.F. Westcott (1825 - 1901), E.C. Hoskyns (1884 - 1937), William Temple (1881 - 1944) and John A.T. Robinson(1919 - 1983): Anglican Approaches to St. John's Gospel

Williams is quite aware that this is by no means a complete list of the manifold Anglican identities that have existed and continue to exist in our world. Yet, there are a lot of contours and trajectories here that ought not be missed and can, in fact, be found to emerge as one goes through different Anglican thinkers.

As one may notice in the above list of chapters, Richard Hooker - perhaps rightly thought of as the theological father of all later Anglican writers - makes *two* appearances here. Williams writes that "Hooker - like the Anglican tradition as a whole, it is tempting to add - is tantalizingly hard to pigeonhole." (p. 55) Yet, I wonder if perhaps this is only because we have become too used to hearing a polemic between radical Protestants on the one hand and ardent Roman Catholics on the other - as if this truly represented the spectrum of Christendom! Anglicanism, as an attempting *for* a primitive (= historic!) catholicity, deconstructs the oftentimes elaborate over-simplifications made by both Puritans and Roman Catholics on issues such as Scripture, grace and the Church, therefore standing as a viable third option: as something *distinctly* Anglican.

Highly recommended.

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