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The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to St. John of the Cross [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   207
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2004
Publisher   Cowley Publications
ISBN  1561010472  
EAN  9781561010479  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this classic treatise on Christian spirituality, Rowan Williams takes us with a new eye along a road marked out by Paul, John, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and finally to Luther and St. John of the Cross. The Wound of Knowledge is a penetrating psychological and intellectual analysis of Christian spirituality.

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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.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
I recommend getting this one (the revised 1990 edition one) not the 1979 one  Oct 20, 2007
When I was deciding whether to buy this book, I wasn't sure if it had actually been revised since Williams first wrote it in 1979. I had found the 1979 version at the library. Indeed the book was revised in 1990. Thus, if you are going take the trouble to read this book, I would read the updated version.

The inside cover reads "Second, revised edition 1990 by Darton, Longman & Todd, London." For example he writes in the notes on page 194, "On the complex question of Jesus' relation to Israel and the Law, my earlier and very much over-simplified account has been revised in light of more recent work, notably Jesus and Judaism, E.P. Sanders (London 1985)."

It also says in the front cover of the book, "U.S. release of the second, revised edition in 1991 by Cowley Publications. First published in the United States under the title Christian Spirituality." So, if you have the book Christian Spirituality by Rowan Williams, I think (but am not 100% sure) that is the revised 1990 version.
Passonate and intelligent book on Christian inclination and spirituality...  Jan 2, 2007
Where does this book begin? I find so many entry points, for the writer, Archbishop Rowan Williams, allows the reader to join in at many places. I will start from the beginning, the usual way of writing a book review. For me, there are many lessons as in the way to live more seriously in Christ. To live more seriously in the church and into "...the historical corporateness of its tradition..." with commitment. He the head of the Anglican Church, its worldwide communion, and the Church of England again provides a service in illuminating God-in-Christ. I do not mean to reduce this thoughtful and brilliant book to a series of sound bites. For it is a readable yet scholarly book, well thought out, and filled with the "Wound of Knowledge" as the title suggests.

The author writes with authority in matters, including our inclinations to "religious control" where we wish to come to Christ and the New Testament without so many certainties. Let me stop a moment and say something of certainties, as found in a poem by the author of the book "Run, Shepherds, Run: Poems for Advent and Christmas." In that book the Episcopalian teacher at a seminary in Berkeley, California USA says, "If you want to go to God, go without/your certainties. Take your graces. Leave/your certainties behind..." (L. William Countryman, "Going to God with the Shepherds.) This is good advice on an approach to reading this 191 page paperback published by Cowley Publications, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

The subtitle of the book tells us that the author is writing about, "Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to Saint John of the Cross." The table of contents names the chapters well, and this well presented book is offered with intriguing questions and statements: "The Passion of My God," "The Shadow of the Flesh," "End Without End," The Clamor of the Heart." If it were not for the clarity of the writing, one would think there is a denseness to the text that thwarts an intelligent lay man or woman. Not so, for though there is a sense of mystery about the book, there is more greatly so a sustained exposition.

Many of the thoughts presented in this book will be familiar to the Christian reader, nonetheless by the authority of the figure who is author, and by the tone of the writing, clarification and consideration is evident. "The whole notion of a God who is 'productive,' free to create a world to which he can communicate something of himself, depends upon conceiving God's intrinsic life as generative of relationship." This sample of reason is helpful, and solid stuff. I like to hear it said.

In our world there is for us humankind, " eternal actuality..." Here again, just a few words, but words one can take and think about, and hang onto. In discussing Saint Augustine, as Rowan Williams does other historic Christian thinkers, for when this Augustine concept is used, we get the light of spirituality: "...the never ceasing pilgrimage of the heart or spirit ..." we know that the Archbishop is a man who believes well what he writes: "The heart does not look for an easy stability..."

The book is, " introduction to the ways in which a succession of Christian saints lies in their articulate their vision of the Christian calling..."

I like this quote from the Chapter, "The Sign of the Son of Man." It ends the chapter and is towards the end of the book: There are, according to Luther, "...unpalatable facts of human self destructiveness; that it is there, in the bitterest places of alienation, that the depth and scope of Christ's victory can be tasted...all-pervading liberation." As you can see, this is an ecumenical book. That is important to say.

There is passion in Rowan William's belief and spirituality, a deeply religious man certainly, I enjoyed the context created for a quotation from John of the Cross. As Archbishop Rowan says, "...poems do not argue; they reflect, modify and recreate the synthetic vision of experience..." This quotation from the Bride's words reflects and professes the deep experience that religion brings: "All those that haunt the spot/Recount your charm, and wound me worst of all/Babbling I know not what strange rapture, they recall,/Which leaves me stretched and dying when I fall." Passion is there, and in this book.

The title fulfills the mission statement of the publisher, " developing a new generation of writers and teachers who will encourage people to think and pray in new ways about spirituality, reconciliation, and the future." The uniqueness of the vision in this book is welcomed by this reader, and I am sure if you are inclined to find means to know Christ and become more deeply engaged with God-in-Christ you will find, "The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Sirituality from the New Testament to Saint John of the Cross a worthwhile purchase. I can truly say that this is a book when read that is time well spent.

--Peter Menkin, Ninth day of Christmas

The Mystical Experience of Belief  Jul 16, 2005

"The goal of a Christian life, according to Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is not enlightenment but wholeness - 'an acceptance of this complicated and muddled bundle of experiences as a possible theater for God's creative work.'" Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat

Book Overview:
Dr. Williams presents in this thematically rich and diversified volume, a mystical overview of Christian spiritual life from the Apostolic Fathers to St. John of the Cross. Among those included are Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, and many others. The reader of this book will experience: an ecumenical journey in time and space to discover ancient Christian traditions, through delving into the patristic door. Living the faith, is part of his pilgrimage, reflected in his contribution to 'Anglican quest for holiness,' and continues with his book: 'The Making of Orthodoxy.'

History of Loving Knowledge:
The Passion of my God; starts with faith, spirituality, belief (doctrine) which is represented in the Philippians' Christological hymn. His first patristic example was Ignatius of Antioch, allegedly the kid who offered the five loaves to Lord Jesus. His masterful statement is, p17: "Thus martyrdom comes as a natural culmination of a far more prosaic process of kenosis (self emptying) from "The shadow of the Flesh":

A tour of the Mystics:
Starting with Philo the mystical Jew, Irenaeus, and the Apophatic Alexandrines: Clement, Origen, in a fascinating virtual tour. Origen and Athanasius struggled with the meaning of sharing the divine life. Gregory of Nyssa wrote about imitating the pattern of God's life as revealed in Jesus. Throughout the book, Bp. Williams became absorbed in mystical expressions: End without End (Arian Crisis, and Athanasius), The glamour of the heart (Augustine of Hippo), Acrobats and jugglers.

Mystical Circus:
The City? The desert (Antony, Macarius, and the desert fathers). He refers here to D. Chitty's book: The desert, a city. The Monastery is the third development in his account, John Cassian now carries to the West this monastic ideal of Pachomian system of 'Organized Spirituality,' where Benedict relaxes the rule, then Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), returns back to the serious desert tradition of self mortification, kenosis, or mortifying our negative passions, which leaves the disciple in complete darkness: Ps. 73:22

Ecstasy & understanding:
Here R. Williams contrasts the Apophaic tradition of the great Syrian mystic of pseudonym; Dennis the Areopagite with the Cataphatic Aristotelian theology of Thomas Aquinas, a back shift from Neo-Platonism of the East. Johannes Elkhart, another Dominican was dubbed heretical by those who could not perceive his mystical expressions.

End Of Christendom:
The Sign of the Son of Man: Luther and Ockham, reformation and its dogmas: Faith, and Sola Scriptura. In the secret stair: Williams recounts in the "Way of Denial," from a similar spiritual experience of john of the Cross and Luther, both being in hell, but broke off differently through an apophatic versus Luther's cataphatic solution. Now John+ and associate Teresa of Avila, both embodied their vocation, through Carmelites failure.
"Oh who my grief can mend! Come, make the last surrender that I yearn for,"

Theological History; NT to John+:
A long subtitle, for a fast virtual tour. In less than 180 pages you join the party of the Mystics and say with Abbot Chapman: "The unperceived, infused contemplation occupies the mind, and it can't think of something else;..."
Alas, the party is over but never my longing for the company of the holy mystics.

The ground of belief:
"It is the intractable strangeness of the ground of belief that must constantly be allowed to challenge the fixed assumptions of religiosity; it is a given, whose question to each succeeding age is fundamentally one and the same. And the greatness of the great Christian saints lies in their readiness to be questioned, judged, stripped naked, and left speechless by that which lies at the center of their faith." Cowleypublications

Author: Archbishop Williams:
The Archbishop of Canterbury is unique in being the only theologian to have been Professor of Divinity at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. His depth of knowledge and evident spirituality have made him a sought after Church figure and became a spokesperson for Christianity since he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury. He never gave up on his belief in ecumenical values that bind all Christians.


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