An Exegesis of Rowan Williams' Interiority and Epiphany: A Reading in New Testament Ethics - Assignment Example

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Rowan Williams Exegesis In the essay “On Christian Theology,” Rowan Williams, discusses the psychological processes of interiority and the way the self is formed through an integral process of “becoming”. William contrasts this with what some schools of psychology, religion, and self-realization posit as an “authentic self”.1 This discussion is a classical one and dates to the earliest days of Buddhist philosophy where wisdom born of meditation and direct perception of mental processes established that there was no existent “self,” as entity, object, or ideal existent form…
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An Exegesis of Rowan Williams Interiority and Epiphany: A Reading in New Testament Ethics
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"An Exegesis of Rowan Williams' Interiority and Epiphany: A Reading in New Testament Ethics"

This view includes a type of ideal or archetypal identity related to the fingerprint of the soul, the absolute singularity of the individual as an autonomous being. For Williams, and others such as Walter A. Davis whom he cites, the self is not a hidden diamond or an actual ideal form that is “unearthed” in the process of self discovery; rather the self is constructed, representing the integral synthesis of all the knowledge, awareness, experience, and emotion that has become part of that individual’s identity. In “Inwardness and Existence Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx, and Freud,” Walter A Davis writes: “No depth exists in subject until it is created. No a priori identity awaits us... Inwardness is a process of becoming, a work, the labour of the negative. The self is not a substance one unearths by peeling away layers until one gets to the core, but an integrity one struggles to bring into existence.” 3 Williams establishes his concurrence with Davis’s thesis as a central aspect of his essay, and then engages in a personal monolog regarding his own subjective experience of interiority as it relates to the stream of consciousness and inner dialog. Williams draws upon the aspects of ‘self-to-other’ and ‘self-to-self’ conversations in their relation to the synthesis of knowledge into identity through understanding. Williams focuses on the aspects of “integrity” as they relate to the inner life, and he sees this as a process of self-harmonization through which all of the different aspects of experience are integrated into self-identity through interior reflection and contemplation.4 Williams then discusses the manner through which individual identity and understanding fuel social behavior, such as reactions to identity patterns or social groupthink as manifested in larger environmental and social structures. This polyphony of identities in modern culture leads to rivalries and attempts by groups to control the moral and political dialog in civil society, as well as individual identity. From this, Williams develops the need for tolerance in ethics and behavior.5 Recognizing this need, Williams then begins a discussion of Christianity as an a priori which changes the nature of this debate. “To the extent that the Christian Church is an embodying structure for an ethic of shared accountability and common interest, it needs closer examination in this connection. In the next part of this essay, I shall be suggesting that the narrative (not simply the recorded teaching) of Jesus functions in such a way that it mediates historically the meaning of a non-negotiable and therefore non-competitive presence 'before' which ethical discourse is conducted; and that, when conducted systematically in that light, the character of ethical discourse itself is significantly affected.”6 Williams relates tolerance to the mystical state of non-duality that Jesus taught in the New Testament, where there is equanimity of mind joined with universal love for all beings that is comparable to the Divine Light that shines upon all beings equally.7 From this realization related to metaphysics Read More
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