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Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams Paperback – April 5, 2012
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"Myers' book exhibits many of the traits he describes in the theology of Rowan Williams: an attentiveness and care that make the familiar strange, a sparse but rich prose that bears re-reading, a seeking always for historical foundations. In fact, this elegant book is a complex intellectual biography that convincingly roots its hero in a series of engagements, but those engagements are then shown to occur within an ongoing reflection on the life of prayer. Throughout the complex paths of Williams' theology are introduced with clarity and verve." -Lewis Ayres, Durham University
"With skill and a keen eye for what makes for a helpful summary, Myers charts the way in which Williams relentlessly returns, like a finger finding its way back to a still-unhealed wound, to the themes of God's elusiveness, God's refusal to satisfy our yearning, our quest for uncomplicated assurance." -Books and Culture
Selected in The Guardian as one of the best books of 2012, and selected in The Christian Century as one of the year's top books in religion and philosophy.
"While some volumes are written merely to inform or defend, Christ the Stranger is composed with an eye to delight. In sixteen brief chapters - vignettes more than expositions - this slim volume offers a clear and compelling sketch of the views of Rowan Williams, the previous archbishop of Canterbury, on sociality, tragedy, language, boundaries, tradition, growth, mission, saints, desire, hope, prayer, fantasy and renunciation. The result is a beautifully composed introduction to one of the richest theological minds of our generation." -European Journal of Theology
"Benjamin Myers has produced the kind of book to which more academics should aspire." -Religion and the Arts
"An accessible, interesting, and persuasive account of this difficult yet important modern theologian." -Alister McGrath
"This is really a very good book. Like the writings of its subject, it is at once engagingly readable and densely complex." -Medi Ann Volpe
About the Author
Lecturer in systematic theology at
Charles Sturt University's School of Theology in Sydney. He is author of many essays in theology and literature and writes at the popular blog, Faith and Theology.
Top customer reviews
Myers lays bare the intellectual and spiritual roots of Williams' theology. Specifically, he shows the way in which William's thought has been shaped by sustained engagements with Wittgenstein, MacKinnon, Augustine, Russian Orthodox theology, Freud, Gillian Rose's Hegelianism, and various forms of ascetic practice. This provides an interpretive framework for understanding Williams' sometimes difficult writings, and illuminates the theological background to some of his more controversial decisions (e.g., his positions on Sharia law and homosexuality, respectively).
The book is not heavy-handed or polemical. Myers often lets Williams' positions speak for themselves. This charitable approach makes this an ideal book for readers sympathetic or critical to Williams. If one is already positively disposed towards Williams, this book will be eminently helpful in showing the way his thought has been formed over the decades. The reader with sharp disagreements will discover where the disagreement truly originates.
While Myers seems sympathetic towards much of Williams' thought, this does not turn the book into iconography. Myers demonstrates a patient and loving listening to the thought of Williams. While the book is not without celebrations and criticisms, for the most part the reader is left to make up her own mind with regard to the legitimacy and import of Williams' thought.
The charitable approach taken in the book is combined with a lovely writing style that is colourful and concise. The book makes a compelling case in the space of 132 pages, and does so as a real "page-turner". This is a rare feat, especially for a theological book. As such it is a wonderful example of theological writing.
but one who--to my mind-- is overly dark in his assessment of the core Christian gospel.
I did not give a higher rating, not because the author has not done a fine job, but rather because
I was disappointed by what I learned about Rowan Williams, his subject.