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What is consciousness? Is the mind a machine? What makes us persons? How can we find the path to human maturity?
These are among the fundamental questions that Rowan Williams helps us to think about in this deeply engaging exploration of what it means to be human.
The book ends with a brief but profound meditation on the person of Christ, inviting us to consider how, through him, 'our humanity in all its variety, in all its vulnerability, has been taken into the heart of the divine life'.
With discussion questions for personal or group use at the end of each chapter, this is a book that listeners of all religious persuasions will find both challenging and highly rewarding.
- What is consciousness?
- What is a person?
- Bodies, minds and thoughts
- Faith and human flourishing
- Silence and human maturity
- Epilogue: humanity transfigured
"In Being Human, Rowan Williams, one of today's most brilliant and profound thinkers, has produced a rich and thought-provoking meditation on the themes of consciousness, language, relationship, speech, silence and what it is to be a person. A marvellous and moving work: philosophical theology at its very best." (Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks)
"Through an elegant exploration of the nature of human consciousness Being Human convincingly debunks current discourse about the value of autonomy as the foundation of self-confidence, restoring human narrative and relationships to the heart of our being. A fascinating book, worthy of reflection and discussion." (Baroness Sheila Hollins, Emeritus Professor of The Psychiatry of Learning Disability at St George's, University of London)
"Rowan William's most striking characteristics are his humanity and his fine intellect. Here he uses both gifts quite brilliantly to illuminate what it means to be human. A stimulating collection of provocative yet reassuring essays. A gift from an exceptional man." (Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, FRSA, Chair of Justice - the UK section of the International Commission of Jurists)
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Poorly reasoned, not worth the time
I've loved almost everything I've read or heard by Rowan Williams until now. After awhile, I had to put this down. Treating it as a follow-on to "Being Disciples" and "Being Christian" does a disservice to the first two books. This is disorganized and poorly reasoned, making me think the author did not have clearly enough in mind what he wanted to say. For anyone interested in pursuing the notion of being and consciousness as manifest in humans, my go-to book is still "The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss," by David Bentley Hart.