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Christ the Heart of Creation

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In this wide-ranging book, Rowan Williams argues that what we say about Jesus Christ is key to understanding what Christian belief says about creator and creation overall. Through detailed discussion of texts from the earliest centuries to the present day, we are shown some of the various and subtle ways in which Christians have discovered in their reflections on Christ ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Bloomsbury Continuum (first published September 6th 2018)
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Joseph Sverker
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
An incredibly impressive book and also extraordinarily dense. For me it was by no means an easy read, yet very, very rewarding. I was hoping to use it as a course book on undergraduate level, but I think it is too advance, which is sad in a way. The content should be communicated also on an undergraduate level because the discussion which Williams is mainly concerned with, the relationship between the infinite and the finite, the Creator and the created, is not normally a main concern in ...more
Roy Howard
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rowan Williams is the rare theologian who writes for popular audiences as well as the academy. This one is for those pastor-theologians who appreciate serious theological reflection. The book is an extended commentary on an earlier essay of Anglican theologian Austin Farrer that ponders the infinite and finite as as way to understand the Incarnation of Christ. From there, Williams surveys the history of theological reflection beginning with the early church and moving through the reformation to ...more
Doug
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clarifying discussion on Christology

Williams offers a helpful reflection on the history of the Church's discussion of Jesus Christ as fully human and fully divine. He clarifies the creature/Creator distinction, and the risk of violating that distinction. Though aspects of the discussion are dense, it is worth wrestling through. He cover three main periods: the early development through Aquinas, the Reforms Luther and Calvin, and the modern era in Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer ( with reflections on
...more
John
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely dense and learned book over the nature of Christ. A number of interesting insights, but ultimately I would get lost. I probably only understood about 20-30%, but I know enough to recognize an excellent work of scholarship.
Miserrimus
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extremely technical and quite difficult Christology. It looks (via Austin Farrer) at Aquinas, then the steps by which, from the NT onwards, Aquinas is reached, including the formation of Chalcedon and its “refinement” by Leontius of Byzantium and Leontius of Jerusalem, Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascene. It then looks both at the decay of the Thomist synthesis in Scotus and Luther, but also, more surprisingly, at its continuation and development in Calvin and then in Barth, ...more
Thomas
Fascinating, powerful account of Christology. Must read for anyone interested in scholarly work on Christ's person. Slow reading and meditation required.
Peter Carey
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a wonderful book!

Wow, what a wonderful book by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams on Christ and Christology. Beginning with the earliest Christians, Dr. Williams charts the story of Christology through the centuries, and leaves me pondering deeply the meaning of Christ in my own life and the life of the World!
Carl Nelson
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important modern reading of the language of the incarnation

Chalcedon declared Christ fully God and fully man. Williams starting with an observation of Farrar about infinite and finite reviews literature from Augustine to Bonhoeffer trying to faithfully treat the Chalcedon faith. Aquinas formulation of ease is given an important place in the argument. Clearly written making challenging philosophical arguments fairly straightforward to follow.
Thomas
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a number of readers have noted, this is a dense and challenging read. I haven't been reading much "proper" systematic theology over the past year-and-a-half (for a variety of reasons), and working through this book over the course of a few months was a workout (in a good way). Williams seeks to answer the question "how does Christology ... generate a new and fuller grasp of the ‘grammar’ of createdness?" and does so by winding his way from the New Testament through Aquinas and on to ...more
E.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Despite philosophical training in metaphysics, I'm not all that interested in theological metaphysics. My basic metaphysical approach is the organic philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and the traditions of Process philosophy and American pragmatism. But when it comes to theology I approach the language as metaphorical and shrouded in mystery and have no real impulse for the sort of nuanced language that can occupy theological metaphysics.

Which means this book was a serious stretch for me.
...more
Toby
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctrine-ethics
Rowan Williams writes (though does not, in my experience, speak) in a form of verbal algebra. This is not necessarily a criticism, but it does mean that you have to understand the terms in order to comprehend his meaning. When the blurb on the book says that he writes with pellucid clarity I am tempted to respond that if you have to look "pellucid" up in the dictionary then this book is not for you.

Unusually in my experience of reading Rowan, I did understand most of the terms because I've spent
...more
Richard Woodhouse
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book on Christian Theology by the former Archbishop of the Church of England. He studies the theological insights of Thomas Aquinas, Austin Farrer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and also insights from the Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. How Christology both reveals God and yet also has a apophatic aspect to it too. He also touches on the work of Soren Kierkegaard as well. I am going to re-read this book again soon. Very profound philosophical/Theological work that needs more study from a limited ...more
Marc Schneider
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Dense and rich like a nice banana bread. Highly recommended to any serious theology nerds.
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Rowan Douglas Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, is an Anglican bishop, poet, and theologian. He was Archbishop of Canterbury from December 2002-2012, and is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and Chancellor of the University of South Wales.
“God and the world are not two things to be added together. Neither are they two things that are ‘really’ one thing. They exist in an asymmetrical relation in which one depends wholly on the other, yet is fully itself, made to be and to act according to its own logic and structure.” 1 likes
“In the light of this clarification of the finite/infinite distinction, we can see that ‘revelatory’ action, including whatever events allow us a closer conscious share in infinite agency (in the love of the Trinity, to use the conventional theological phrasing), will be, not an interruption of the finite sequence, but a particular configuration of finite agency such that it communicates more than its own immanent content.” 0 likes
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