Grace and Necessity | Rowan Williams

Grace and Necessity | Rowan Williams

I can’t remember who recommended this book to me, but I’m sure glad he or she did! It sat on my Amazon wish list for a while until I threw it into the cart on impulse.

There’s four chapters in this book, which are expanded versions of the Clark Lectures Williams gave in 2005. In the first three chapters, Williams covers Jacques Maritain, David Jones, and Flannery O’Connor respectively. He examines how the later two figures viewed their craft through the lens of Maritain. In the final chapter, Williams relates this philosophy of art more closely to theology and draws some conclusions.

This is the sort of book that I know I will read again. Whenever I paused to reconsider a sentence or paragraph, an new insight would jump out at me. In particular, I loved his insistence on the integrity of art. Art-as-propoganda or art-as-emotionalism or art-as-self-expression are compromises that undermine art’s true purpose.

Not only did this book make me want to read more from Williams, it made me want to pursue Maritain and O’Connor as well. This work demands your concentration, but rewards it richly.

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