An Agenda for Joy: Rowan Williams’s Theology of Conflict, Unity, and Solidarity

Brian McKinlay

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This study seeks a theological understanding of disagreement and conflict in church and society through a reading of the work of Rowan Williams, who argues that conflict and difference are constitutive of human oneness. Williams’s theology of church and his understanding of its unity are closely interrelated. The church itself and its unity are God’s gift. Drawing on Williams, this thesis proposes solidarity as a category through which to understand the oneness of the church and its relationship with society. According to Williams, God creates and sustains a universe of immeasurable difference within itself. Williams employs Gillian Rose’s reading of Hegel to introduce a metaphysical understanding of such difference and our response to it. The communal work of truth-seeking requires unavoidable negotiation, self-dispossession and loss, without which there may be tragic misrecognition of our interests and those of others. The thesis critically examines situations of conflict that exemplify and test Williams’s theology. Looking beyond the church, the thesis explores Williams’s theologically grounded proposals for solidarity in a pluralist society oriented towards the common good.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Myers, Benjamin, Principal Supervisor
  • Palmer, Damian, Co-Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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