Monday, March 24, 2008

This week's TLS on ABCs past and present

There's a good review in this week's TLS of Rowan William's Wrestling with Angels edited by Mike Higton by David Bentley Hart, a visiting professor at Providence College and a dismissive review of David Hein's book on Geoffrey Fisher by John Whale.

Hart calls the collection "provocative and profound" and notes that William's essays dealing with the thought of modern philosophers and theologians are "exercises in philosophical or systematic theology" or "careful inquisitive readings." They suit Williams well. Hart describes the essay on the nature of human interiority "somewhat original" noting that it juxtaposes Bonhoeffer and Wittgenstein. The essay on Vladimir Lossky is "deeply respectful" and brings into focus "certain troubling weaknesses of Lossky's thought." However, he fails to elaborate on what these are. He thinks the two essays on Hegel "compellingly demonstrate" why theologians must continue to engage with Hegel's thought on "the implications of Trinitarian dogma, the nature of freedom and community, the possibility of speaking of God and much else." He does not care for the essay on Don Cupitt.

David Hein's book on Geoffrey Fisher is found wanting by John Whale, former editor of the Church Times and former assistant editor of the Sunday Times. It is an incomplete picture, and a "slender biographical essay." Fisher was "an autocrat of fixed opinions who urged them even when the matter at hand had ceased to be his business." Failing to take the complete picture into account, the book gives Fisher "an easy pass." This is a good example of a critical review.

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