How can Rowan Williams reconcile his Christianity with the Greek tragic vision?by Edith Hall / November 17, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Can there be a Christian reading of tragedy? Can a pre-Christian, pagan, literary genre, which confronts the gross unfairness of human pain, be reconciled with the idea of a loving deity? Expectations must be high of a book about tragedy professing to explore these questions by Rowan Williams. He is the most intellectually renowned British churchman alive, a former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He has always enriched his prolific theological and church-historical studies with intense reflections on philosophy and literature; in addition to his more than 30 volumes on Christianity, he has published on Fydor Dostoyevsky and WH Auden and even volumes of his own poetry. The Tragic Imagination is a short monograph, a little over 40,000 words, arguing for the past and continuing importance of tragic drama and its compatibility—indeed affinity—with a philosophically inflected Christian outlook.