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Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology [Paperback]

By Rowan Williams (Author)
Our Price $ 24.65  
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Item Number 64967  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   305
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.32" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   1.04 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
ISBN  0802827268  
EAN  9780802827265  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Williams' writings spanning 1980-2000. It focuses on his insightful engagement with a wide range of modern theologians and philosophers - Vladimir Lossky, Hegel, Wittegenstein, Bonhoeffer, von Balthasar, Marice Wiles, Gillian Rose, Marilyn McCord Adams, and many more. Key themes explored in this collection include negative theology, postmodernity, violence, innocence, divine action and the nature of historical development in theology. Brought together these profound themes illuminate Williams' powerfully coherent theological vision. Many of the included papers are now out of print or are otherwise difficult to obtain. Therefore, Serious Negotiations is a treasure trove for anyone interested in Williams's theology, from members of the Anglican clergy to students of modern theology.

Publishers Description
Wrestling with Angels gathers writings by Rowan Williams ? many now out of print or otherwise difficult to obtain ? spanning the years 1980?2000. It focuses on his insightful engagement with a range of modern theologians and philosophers ? Hegel, Wittgenstein, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Balthasar, Simone Weil, Marilyn McCord Adams, and more.

Key themes explored in this volume include negative theology, postmodernity, violence, innocence, divine action, and the nature of historical development in theology. Williams??'s powerfully coherent theological vision shines throughout. Nowhere else will readers find Williams dialoguing with such a breathtaking range of writers.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Theology > General   [4167  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An Intellectual Force  Nov 11, 2008
The book is a collection of fourteen previously published articles by Rowan Williams (perhaps better known as the Archbishop of Canterbury), commenting on various theologians from the past two centuries. Williams wrote these articles from the 1970s to the 1990s. It would seem that the editor wants readers to return to the original texts by the theologians to rethink their own interpretations and/or to evaluate Williams' insight. The collection carries the approval of Rowan Williams, proven by his introduction to the volume.

The subject matter does not relate to one specific topic or even theme. It ranges from Negativism to Metaphysics and each chapter is thus a discussion on its own. It is beyond the scope of the review to comment on or summarise the book. The reviewer also frankly admits that he certainly does not regard himself qualified to express an opinion on validity of the arguments as set out in the various chapters. The chapters are basically in the form of critiques by Williams on the writings of the theologians, including Vladimir Lossky, Karl Barth, Simone Weil and Georg Hegel.

The chapters largely contain subjective viewpoints from Williams on the various subjects. In many cases he expresses agreement with some of the viewpoints but also do not hesitate to differ from the authors. This reviewer, however, appreciates the way in which Williams treats the authors' works. He always shows the greatest respect for the author whose work he critiques. Although one can expect a religious person to display such an attitude, history has revealed that it is not necessarily always the case! Also, Williams continuously provides arguments for his viewpoints and although a reader does not have to agree with all his views and conclusions, at least there is sufficient explanation and groundwork for his arguments, supporting interpretation and evaluation.

It is this reviewer's opinion that that is probably the objective and biggest benefit of the book. It provides literature-founded and/or scripture-based and proper arguments on various subjects that should interest scholars and researchers in modern times and lends itself to readers exploring the various arguments and approaches while forming their own conclusions on the subjects.

Interestingly enough, many of the subjects, even though some are decades old, are still relevant in this day and age. A typical example will be chapter 8, dealing with war and the state. Although the writing largely revolves around the nuclear threat of the then Cold War, the arguments are relevant in today's scenarios where war continues to feature on most countries agendas, whether as participant, instigator, defendant or wary observer. Despite being written from a religious perspective, it will still be beneficial reading to anyone struggling with the concept of war as a human endeavour. Further subjects that this reviewer could easily relate to included politics and metaphysics (chapter 4), violence and society (chapter 9), realism (chapter 12) and evil (chapter 13). Moving closer to a more philosophical perspective, subjects like "being" (chapter 6), the existence of god (chapter 11) and to know oneself as part of humankind (chapter 10) are discussed. The book is obviously religious in nature, but deals with philosophers like Freud and other non-religious thinkers on equal foot, incorporating relevant thinking from any source where it can contribute to the discussion.

This reviewer found the book highly intellectual and challenging to read and understand. This is no book to read while relaxing just before falling asleep! As a matter of fact, this reviewer had to sit at a desk with pencil and highlighter to even start to grasp the content! Rowan Williams is an intelligent man with a passion for his cause. He must read and study and think continuously to be able to function at the level and capacity to produce writings of this stature. This reviewer confesses that he has not read any of the text that Williams deals with in the book and that is definitely a problem when reading the book. It is clear from Williams' writing style that he expects the reader to be knowledgeable about the theologians he engages with in his essays. With some effort and concentration a reader will be able to understand the context of the writing without having read the original author's work, but one certainly sacrifices some insight in such a case.

One definite conclusion for this reviewer was that Rowan Williams has a surprisingly practical approach to many of the subjects. While many of the authors he critiques, deals with a subject at a philosophical level (admittedly, many of the subjects are philosophical), Williams discusses it in such a way that it is possible to relate to it in a practical way, as one can encounter it in your normal day-to-day living. The following quote from the book confirms this observation: "Part of the task of a good theology and of a candid religious philosophy is, I believe, to reacquaint us with our materiality and mortality." (p.271). Williams has proven this statement throughout the book, an approach admired by this reviewer.

It is from personal experience, therefore, that this reviewer recommends this book only to serious scholars either of any of the specific authors dealt with in the publication or else of theology in general. Any reader should be prepared to read further and wider when selecting this book as reading material. The book is written by an intellectual for intellectuals (irrespective of how you define `intellectual'!). Although this reviewer acknowledges that he has learned a lot while reading the book, he has certainly not enjoyed the reading journey!

The book is well edited and has a catching cover illustration. It contains introductions from both the author and the editor. It is largely an academic book and complies with academic standards in that it contains full references and bibliographies to referenced works. It also has a useful index reflecting the main authors and individuals dealt with in the chapters. This reviewer found the binding to be not reader-friendly. It is a typical paperback binding and given the thickness of the book will not survive serious use and this book should be able to be left open and available while referencing another source. Its current binding does not lend itself to such treatment and a hard cover, stitched binding would have been more appropriate. Given the stature of the book, it is probably also warranted.
A deeper look into how today's modern philosophers think.  May 4, 2008
The 104th Archbishop of Canterbury is a prolific speaker on the many subjects of Christianity, and in "Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology" his writings, long out of print and hard to find, are now collected and displayed in one easy tome for a new generation of readers. Focusing on his discussions with his contemporaries like Hegel, Barth, Bathasar, Adams, and others,"Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology" is a scholarly and informed compilation in modern philosophy and art, speaking on such topics as postmodernity, innocence, nature of historical development, and more. "Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology" is highly recommended for religious studies shelves and anyone who wants a deeper look into how today's modern philosophers think.

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