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Arius: Heresy and Tradition [Paperback]

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Item Number 143198  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 24, 2002
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802849695  
EAN  9780802849694  


Availability  88 units.
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Item Description...
Overview
Arius is widely considered to be Rowan Williams's magnum opus. Long out of print and never before available in paperback, it has been newly revised. This expanded and updated edition marks a major publishing event. Arianism has been called the "archetypal Christian heresy" because it denies the divinity of Christ. In his masterly examination of Arianism, Rowan Williams argues that Arius himself was actually a dedicated theological conservative whose concern was to defend the free and personal character of the Christian God. His "heresy" grew out of an attempt to unite traditional biblical language with radical philosophical ideas and techniques and was, from the start, involved with issues of authority in the church. Thus, the crisis of the early fourth century was not only about the doctrine of God but also about the relations between emperors, bishops, and "charismatic" teachers in the church's decision-making. In the course of his discussion, Williams raises the vital wider questions of how heresy is defined and how certain kinds of traditionalism transform themselves into heresy. Augmented with a new appendix in which Williams interacts with significant scholarship since 1987, this book provides fascinating reading for anyone interested in church history and the development of Christian doctrine.

Publishers Description
Arius is widely considered to be Rowan Williams's magnum opus. Long out of print and never before available in paperback, it has been newly revised. This expanded and updated edition marks a major publishing event. Arianism has been called the "archetypal Christian heresy" because it denies the divinity of Christ. In his masterly examination of Arianism, Rowan Williams argues that Arius himself was actually a dedicated theological conservative whose concern was to defend the free and personal character of the Christian God. His "heresy" grew out of an attempt to unite traditional biblical language with radical philosophical ideas and techniques and was, from the start, involved with issues of authority in the church. Thus, the crisis of the early fourth century was not only about the doctrine of God but also about the relations between emperors, bishops, and "charismatic" teachers in the church's decision-making. In the course of his discussion, Williams raises the vital wider questions of how heresy is defined and how certain kinds of traditionalism transform themselves into heresy. Augmented with a new appendix in which Williams interacts with significant scholarship since 1987, this book provides fascinating reading for anyone interested in church history and the development of Christian doctrine.

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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. Glory of the Lord
  2. Making of the Christian Imagination
  3. Outstanding Christian Thinkers (Paperback Continuum)
  4. Voices from the Monastery


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Outstanding in substance and scholarship  Dec 27, 2005
Arianism is historically regarded the "archetypal heresy" in the Christian tradition. Arius, a theologian and priest of Alexandria denied the full deity and the eternal existence of the Son of God . He taught that the Son, while being divine does not share the same substance (homoousios) with God the Father. Thus, the Word or Son was created by the Father as the agent through whom he created the universe. Arius said of the Son, "There was (a time) when He was not." In Arius: Heresy & Tradition, Williams forcefully argued that Arius presented both a conservative theology and a conservative understanding of his presbyteral role vis-à-vis the bishop (233); contrary to what is traditionally portrayed of him. He insisted that Arius' hermeneutics aimed at developing a biblically-based and rationally consistent Christian theology (111). Arius was a committed theological conservative, stressed the author.

Williams has done a great service to the scholarly community; by providing an alternate way to reevaluate our thoughts on Arius. Although, I do not embrace his view, but I feel that his arguments are compelling and well presented.
 
Heresies Ancient and Modern  Sep 23, 2005
The first edition of 'Arius: Heresy & Tradition' was written by Rowan Williams, currently Archbishop of Canterbury, while he was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford University. Written in the 1980s, it was revised and reissued in 2001 because it had fallen out of print, but remained (and remains) a standard work in the field.

Arianism is, historically speaking, one of the major heresies of the ancient church. It has remained an attractive tendency in theologians ever since the time of Arius in the third and fourth centuries. In brief, the heresy of Arius was that Jesus as the Son of God was not co-eternal of God the Father, that the Father and the Son were not of the same substance (ousia), and that Jesus was a created being. These issues are all addressed contra Arius in the Nicene Creed, which has as part of its construction 'of one being with the Father', 'begotten, not made', and other constructions intentionally directed against Arianism.

Williams' thesis, however, presents a different pictrue from that of the typical 'heretic'. Arius, according to Williams, was in fact a theological conservative wrongly portrayed as a rebel. Williams' first chapter traces images of Arianism in scholarship, from the early John Henry Newman in the 1830s through Harnack, Gwatkin, Elliger, and later scholars too numerous to mention - 'The post-war period has been astonishingly fertile in Arius scholarship,' Williams writes. This has ceased to be as polemical and has become more analytical in nature, 'though the shadow of Arianism-as-Other still haunts modern discussion.'

This is both an historical and a theological text. Theology is not divorced from history or the context in which it is formed. 'Orthodoxy continues to be made,' Williams states. 'What the articulation of doctrinal truth concretely is can be traced only through the detailed reworking and re-imagining of its formative conflicts. That, surely, is the strictly theological point of studying the history of doctrine.' Williams looks at the history of Arius and Arianism in three ways - Arius and the Nicene Crisis, Arius and Theology, and Arius and Philosophy.

With regard to the Nicene Crisis, Williams explores the ambiguities inherent in the Christian world in the time prior to becoming the official religion of the empire. Bishops and other Christian leaders had varying authority, not always well defined and not always in agreement with each other; there was a strong sense of pluralism about the Christian world, and competing ideas for interpretation and expression. Williams argues that to think that Arianism was a monolithic construct, systematised and derivative of one great leader is a very mistaken notion. There were definite political motivations behind the impulse to declare Arianism a heresy.

However, politics were not the only considerations. Theologically, the Christian world was rich with development, including figures such as Origen, Clement, and Philo in Alexandria (one of the leading cities of the empire, and one of the early centres of Christian community). Outside Egypt, the city of Antioch was also a major centre of Christian development and Christian evangelism (being one of the major trade junctions between East and West, North and South, the influence of Antioch on world-wide Christianity was felt for centuries). 'Arius was a committed theological conservative; more specifically, a conservative Alexandrian.' However, the Alexandrian school, both in terms of theology and political power, did not become the ascendant one in Christendom.

In the third section, Williams explores Arius and his connection with philosophical schools of the time. Platonic and neo-Platonic ideas were the principal ones influencing the world, and Williams argues that Arius is close to Plotinus, a major neo-Platonic figure. Williams looks at three key issues - creation and beginning, intellect, and analogy and participation. By this last is meant primarily the Platonic participation that is the relation between the particular thing and its ideal form.

Williams concludes this revised text with an essay, 'Arius since 1987', showing both new scholarship and new interpretations. The field continues to be rich with development. Williams includes an appendix of documents related to the creeds, extensive endnotes, a broad and useful bibliography, and a good index.

Many heresies of old might get tolerated today (or dismissed) as differences of opinion that each has every right to hold. In fact, many differences today, internal to churches and between churches, often relate back to ancient controversies. Arianism is one such that recurs on a fairly regular basis.

Williams' scholarship is sound; his theological ideas are interesting (and one can learn something about Williams' ideas on theology, both method and substance, from the way he treats Arius). This is destined to be a standard text in the field for some time to come.

 
A Name is Sometimes More than a Name  Jul 7, 2005
I have to admit that it was random chance that led me to this book. I have a company called Arius3D which was named after a concept. I knew that Arius was one of the first heretics rebuked by "The Church" and at Arius3D we seemed to be viewed as heretics in the world of 3D graphics so the name was born.

It was with great delight that I cam across a book about the original heretic. From cover to cover, the book provides a fascinatring look at the early Chirch and it's gravitation towards dogma and away from the pure Christian message. I was enthralled by the telling of the tale of Arius, the man who stood against the rising tide of the newly founded 'corporate church'. Pre-dating the Cathars, Arius takes us down the road of understanding how the Church began to formulate its approach to creating and maintaining control over the 'Christian message'.

Excellent work.
 
Informative, If Excruciating Reading  Dec 29, 2003
I got Rowan Williams book on Arius after reading countless references to the Arian church, bishops and missionaries in late anitiquity/early middle ages. I had hoped to find out more about these things here. As it turns out, Williams is not interested in any of that, but only in what can be reconstructed of the Arian crisis of the 4th century. In this particular realm, the book is very informative, if excruciatingly detailed, in its discussion of Arius' place within the continuum of the ancient collision between revelation and Greek philosophy. In some ways, this is a refresher course on Plato, Aristotle, Philo, Origen, Plotinus, and a number of other polytheist and monotheist speculators as to how god relates to the world and how this can accord with Judeo-Christian writings. Williams ultimate concern seems to be to get us to orthodoxy, and to relate this controversy to more modern theological concerns. So while it was of some interest historically, the final impact of this book on me was twofold: 1)it made me very glad I had gotten out of the seminary before spending years learning the intellectual gymnastics required of theologians to conceptualize and define the inconceivable and undefinable, and to reconcile the unreconcilable; 2) and it pushed me to finally read the Koran: I now understand where Mohammed was coming from!
 
A scholarly but highly accessible study of Arius himself  Jul 8, 2002
Now in a newly revised edition with an updated appendix, Arius: Heresy & Tradition by Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Wales) is a thoughtful, scholarly discussion of Arianism, which has been labeled "archetypal Christian heresy" because it denies the traditional views of Christ's divinity. This is a scholarly but highly accessible study of Arius himself, presenting him as a theological conservative who sought to unite the Bible's teachings with philosophical ideals outside the norm. A welcome and highly recommended contribution to religious studies shelves, Arius: Heresy & Tradition is also a fascinating review of the very definition of heresy.
 

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