Beyond Rationality: Dostoevsky and ‘holy fools’. Talk by The Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams

Rowan_WilliamsAbout the speaker: About the speaker: Dr Rowan Williams is widely known as a recent Archbishop of Canterbury – he held the office from 2002 till 2012. At present, he is the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and chair of the board of trustees of Christian Aid.

However, it is probably somewhat less known that Rowan Williams is a philospher and a poet, and has profound interest in great Russian novels (Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov” and “Devils”, and Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago”, to name but a few) and Russian religious philosophy, in particular Seregy Bulgakov. He recalls:

It began in my teens. I read the great Russian novels, listened to the great composers, watched Eisenstein’s films. I became intensely aware of an alien cultural presence on the other side of Europe which had a hinterland of imagery both odd and seductive. I moved from music and literature inexorably to Russian religious philosophy.

In 2007, Rowan Williams published a book “Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction”.

Apart from Welsh, he speaks or reads in nine other languages, including Russian!

Dr William Rowan has strong Cambridge connections. He served as a parish priest at St George’s Church in Chesteron (Cambridge) in 1980-1983, until he was appointed as a Lecturer in Divinity at Cambridge University. In 1984-1986, he was Dean and Chaplain of Clare College, Cambridge, and recently, having retired from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury, William Rowan has returned to Cambridge to become Master of Magdalene College.

We would like to refer you to a very informative and insightful interview with Rowan Williams by Lesley Chamerlain in the Prospect magazine, exploring his deep interest in Russian literature and philosophy.

The talk will be followed by refreshments (juice, wine and nibbles) and informal discussions.

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