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