Home / Events / Annual Lectures

Rowan Williams: The Person and the Individual: Human Dignity, Human Relationships and Human Limits

Rowan Williams: The Person and the Individual: Human Dignity, Human Relationships and Human Limits

Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered the fifth annual Theos lecture on 1st October 2012.

Interested by this? Share it on social media. Join our monthly e–newsletter to keep up to date with our latest research and events. And check out our Friends Programme to find out how you can help our work.

Rowan Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, gave the 2012 Theos Annual Lecture at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. He explored theological notions of personhood and the implications for our society.

“I’ve taken the chance of stepping back a little bit from some of the more obvious immediate current debates to do some thinking about the whole notion of the person in religious thought, and specifically in Christian thought. That’s the thread that connects what I want to say tonight…

In 1955 a Russian theologian living in Paris published an essay on The Theological Notion of ‘The Human Person’. It was quite a technical study that focused largely on the vocabulary of the early Christians, but it is in fact something of a watershed in modern theological thinking. From that relatively brief discussion in 1955 a whole strand of thinking within the eastern Christian world developed and has in turn affected the western Christian world…

It is in turning away from an atomised artificial notion of the self as simply setting its own agenda from inside towards that more fluid, more risky, but also more human discourse of the exchanges in relations in which we’re involved, and grounding that on the basic theological insight that we are always already in advance spoken to, addressed, and engaged with by that which is not the world and not ourselves.”

The lecture was chaired by Mishal Husain, BBC journalist and broadcaster.

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams

Baron Williams of Oystermouth was Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012. Before then, we was Bishop of Monmouth from 1991 to 2002 and Archbishop of Wales from 1999 to 2002. He is a well–known theologian. In 2013 he was appointed Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Watch, listen to or read more from Rowan Williams

Methodist Central Hall
Storey’s Gate
London SW1H 9NH


See all

In the news

See all


See all

Get regular email updates on our latest research and events.

Please confirm your subscription in the email we have sent you.

Want to keep up to date with the latest news, reports, blogs and events from Theos? Get updates direct to your inbox once or twice a month.

Thank you for signing up.