Anglican Identities by Rowan Williams

The title seems to promise all. What does Rowan Williams think of the varying Anglican Identities which he encounters in his role as Archbishop of Canterbury? Many of us would like to know the answer to this. However, we will not find them by reading this book.

Instead, we have a collection of Archbishop Rowan?s theological writings which reflect o­n the thought of a number of Anglicans. To be more accurate, these are Rowan Williams?s thoughts o­n a number of English divines, ranging from Tyndale and Hooker through to John Robinson and Michael Ramsey. All were male. Most were bishops. All are very dead.
There are highlights in this collection. Amongst them is a piece o­n BF Westcott ? ?The Fate of Liberal Anglicanism?. This title in itself might be thought of as the subtext to several of the essays, not least those which deal with John Robinson and the Honest to God controversy. Indeed, the predominant mood towards several of the liberal strands emerging from Church of England is hesitant and wary. This alone might give Rowan Williams?s detractors pause for thought.

The essays in this collection were intended for a theologically literate audience and it is a pleasure to find o­neself reading a serious book by a bishop, nay an archbishop, who has something significant to say.

Ultimately, it is the false expectations generated by an inappropriate book title which disappoint, not the text of the book. However, what lingers longest in the mind is the Archbishop Rowan?s wistful thought in the introduction that these pieces might ?allow and encourage readers a pause for mind and feeling to be reintroduced to ?passionate patience??.

Anglican Identities by Rowan Williams is published by Darton Longman Todd and costs ?7.95.

Speak Your Mind