The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to St. John of the Cross
Author: Rowan Williams
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In this classic treatise on Christian spirituality, Rowan Williams takes us with a new eye along a road marked out by Paul, John, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and finally to Luther and St. John of the Cross. The Wound of Knowledge is a penetrating psychological and intellectual analysis of Christian spirituality.
Christian faith has its beginnings in an experience of profound contradictoriness, an experience that so questioned the religious categories of its time that the resulting organization of religious language was a centuries-long task. At one level, indeed, it is a task that every generation has to undertake again. And if 'spirituality' can be given any coherent meaning, perhaps it is to be understood in terms of this task: each believer making his or her own that engagement with the questioning at the heart of faith which is so evident in the classical documents of Christian belief. This is not, it must be said to recommend any of the currently fashionable varieties of relativism or to romanticize a wistful 'half-belief.'
The questioning involved here is not our interrogation of the data, but its interrogation of us. It is the intractable strangeness of the ground of belief that must constantly be allowed to challenge the fixed assumptions of religiosity; it is a given, whose question to each succeeding age is fundamentally one and the same. And the greatness of the great Christian saints lies in their readiness to be questioned, judged, stripped naked, and left speechless by that which lies at the center of their faith.
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