Monday, 22 February 2010

This week with Rowan Williams

Lots of good stuff from Rowan Williams over the past week or two. He gave a very fine public lecture on the Philokalia at St Vladimir's Seminary (well worth listening to the whole thing). He has a video message to mark the beginning of Lent. He writes in The Guardian about the abyss of individualism. And in the new issue of Reviews in Religion and Theology 17:2 (2010), he has a rip-roaring good review of Luigi Gioia's important new book, The Theological Epistemology of Augustine's De Trinitate (Oxford UP 2009). The review begins:

"Too many theologians writing about Augustine in recent decades have fallen under the malign spell of Olivier Du Roy's substantial monograph of 1966 on faith and intelligence in Augustine's Trinitarian thought – an essay which argued in detail for an almost unqualified Platonism and individualism in Augustine generally, and an isolation of his Trinitarian theology from the economy of salvation. Du Roy's book, along with a somewhat misread passage in de Régnon's studies in the history of Trinitarian theology, produced a curious 'received wisdom' about Augustine as the source of all the theological ills of Western Christendom or even Western society; he appears to have been responsible for everything but the common cold."
Incidentally, the same issue of RRT includes Thomas Cattoi's incisive review of Giorgio Agamben's latest, Il Regno e la Gloria:
"Yet, it is true that, in this volume at least, Agamben offers few, if any, suggestions as to how the subject could break out of the spell of glory. Angels and bureaucrats conspire to make oppression ordinary, and even aesthetically pleasing; any capacity of resistance to the kingdom is shattered, as glory reasserts its transcendent and immutable character. Those readers who persevere to the end of the volume must wait for the next installment to receive their reward."
For more on Agamben's book, you can't go past Adam's invaluable synopses.

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