Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rowan Williams to Deliver Schmemann Lecture

Here's what the St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary website says:

On Saturday afternoon, January 30, 2010, The Most Rev. and Rt. Honorable Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican communion, will deliver the annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. The archbishop will speak on the topic “Theology and the Contemplative Calling: The Image of Humanity in the Philokalia.”

St Vladimir’s Seminary will also confer upon the archbishop a Doctorate of Divinity honoris causa, in recognition of his contribution to the academic study of Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality. The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s, was examined for his own doctoral degree at Oxford University by the archbishop, then a professor of theology there.

“Many Orthodox Christians may be unaware of Rowan Williams’s research and contribution to the field of Orthodox theology,” said Father John. “But he was a pioneer in this field, with outstanding breadth and depth. The subject of his own doctoral thesis, for instance, was the work of the great Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky, the first academic study of the émigré theologians. He has also written beautifully on the icons of the Theotokos and the Transfiguration, and, most recently, has published a highly regarded volume titled Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction. In recognition of his outstanding work and contribution to the study of Eastern Christianity, we are very pleased that he has accepted to deliver the 2010 annual Schmemann lecture.”

The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor and CEO of the seminary, likewise noted the import of the upcoming visit. “The archbishop is a patron of The Fellowship of Ss. Alban and Sergius, a society of Eastern and Western Christians that held a major conference on our campus in 2008,” said Father Chad. “And we welcome his presence as a person who supports the continued dialogue of the society’s members.”

The lecture is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m., and will be followed by a Question & Answer session; questions to the archbishop may be written on cards provided to the audience. The lecture is free and open to the public. It will be podcast by Ancient Faith Radio.

Sure wish I could go!

Read it all.


A. D. Hunt said...

That is so sweet. I too wish I could go.

Bryan Owen said...

A.D., I see that your interests include: music, good beer, good food, and good conversation. What's not to like?

Thanks for the comment. It would, indeed, be amazing to attend this event.

A. D. Hunt said...

...my bad breath?

Yeah, my first blogs were on Blogger (before I saw the light of Wordpress) so I haven't updated that bio in years. Though I suppose I still like all of those so why change it?

bob said...

The ties between Williams and Fr. John Behr, the seminary dean are in evidence here. Both men had Met. Kallistos Ware involved in their dissertaions. Williams was part of Behr's doctoral process. Alas, academic ties can cloud better judgment, and Williams will speak at an Orthodox event. He will be no clearer there than he has been in the past. There will be great enthusiasm followed by the usual whispers of "What did that guy SAY, anyway?". You'll be able to hear a recording of the talk, my prediction will stand or fall.

Bryan Owen said...

You are right, bob, that the ABC can, indeed, be virtually impossible to understand. I've often characterized many of his more academic writings by saying that they read like a bad translation of Heidegger.

Then again, Williams can write in a way that's accessible to a broader audience. I think his book Tokens of Trust falls into that category. As do his books on icons.

We'll see if this particular lecture falls into the former or into the latter camp.

A. D. Hunt said...

What type of unclarity are you speaking of Bob? Could you provide some examples?

bob said...

I just listened to as much as I could stand, as well as the questions. Sigh. I cannot imagine a less interesting speaker. I have met Fr. John Behr, the Dean, and found him interesting and sincere. What he hoped to gain by this I don't know. It will soon be forgotten for every good reason. It's good for getting to sleep if you have no Benadryl in the house. Nothing heretical in it mind you, just not worth bothering with. Prediction of 1/17 vindicated, with sorrow.

Bryan Owen said...

Sorry to hear your report, bob. I wonder if the lecture will be available on-line. I'd like to listen to it, too.

A. D. Hunt said...

For another take see this guy. http://penniman.blogspot.com/2010/02/facing-east-in-winter.html

He also gives links to the audio recordings. I found the lectures to be erudite. I don't wonder if certain people are pre-disposed to be hostile or skeptical to things that ++Rowan says and does.

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for the link, A.D.

Yes, some people are very much predisposed to be hostile or skeptical to things that ++Rowan says and does. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them wished he'd fall over dead, and if he did, they'd feel gleeful.

That's the dark side of the Church of which I was blissfully unaware until I had several years of the priesthood under my collar.

guergues said...

in an arabic magazine , madaress elahad, sunday schools , i read about rev. rowan williams lecturing on fr. schmemann, being interested in the latter writings and ecclesiastical theology,, translating most of his books into arabic , i was glad, so i told most of my colleagues and friends to contact your site for more pertinent informations about the works of rev williams specially on patristic topics, thanks and blessed.