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Like other institutions and individuals, the church is "condemned to repeat history it doesn't know." But how can Christians discern what they need to learn? Linking previous ecclesiastical events with current issues and needs, Williams suggests a theological approach to the past that enables us to clarify our identity in the present. 144 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
The well-worn saying about being condemned to repeat the history we do not know applies to church history as much as to any other kind. But how are Christians supposed to discern what lessons from history need to be learned?
In this small but thoughtful volume, respected theologian and churchman Rowan Williams opens up a theological approach to history, an approach that is both nonpartisan and relevant to the church's present needs. As he reflects on how we consider the past in general, Williams suggests that how we consider church history in particular remains important not so much for winning arguments as for clarifying who we are as time-bound human beings. Good history is a moral affair, he advises, because it opens up a point of reference that is distinct from us yet not wholly alien. The past can then enable us to think with more varied and resourceful analogies about our identity in the often confusing present.
Rowan Williams served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012 and is now Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. A Fellow of the British Academy and an internationally recognized theologian, he was previously Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, Bishop of Monmouth, and Archbishop of Wales.
Christianity Today, Award of Merit, History/Biography (2006)
The Living Church
"A refreshing and clear case for the importance of church history in Christian life today. . . An extended and often beautiful reflection on the communion of saints."