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Why Study the Past?
The Quest for the Historical Church
PAPERBACK; Published: 7/6/2005
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2990-0
135 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.25x8.5
In Stock
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From the first chapter:
"Good historical writing constructs our sense of who we are by a real engagement with the strangeness of the past. . . . Bad history is any kind of narrative that refuses this difficulty and enlargement -- whether by giving us a version of the past that is just the present in fancy dress or by dismissing the past as a wholly foreign country whose language we shall never learn."

The well-worn saying about being condemned to repeat the history we do not know applies to church history as much as to any other kind. But how are Christians supposed to discern what lessons from history need to be learned?

In this small but thoughtful volume, respected theologian and churchman Rowan Williams opens up a theological approach to history, an approach that is both nonpartisan and relevant to the church's present needs. As he reflects on how we consider the past in general, Williams suggests that how we consider church history in particular remains important not so much for winning arguments as for clarifying who we are as time-bound human beings. Good history is a moral affair, he advises, because it opens up a point of reference that is distinct from us yet not wholly alien. The past can then enable us to think with more varied and resourceful analogies about our identity in the often confusing present.

Christianity Today, Award of Merit, History/Biography (2006)
The Living Church
"A refreshing and clear case for the importance of church history in Christian life today. . . An extended and often beautiful reflection on the communion of saints."