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Rowan Williams on Shakespeare, the Church

Rowan Williams on Shakespeare, the Church

Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The former archbishop of Canterbury announces an upcoming Shakespeare project, explains how he still finds inspiration in his writings, and reflects on the difficulties of being archbishop, in a short interview with Robert McCrum for the Guardian.

From the Guardian:

Did he find Shakespeare any guide to being archbishop? “There’s plenty in Shakespeare,” he replies, “about the gulf between the robes and the reality. That’s helpful. And also the sense of paying attention to words. I’m glad I’d done some acting: it’s a way of feeling the words. You’re playing a role, but that does not mean you are falsifying. It just means, ‘This is what I have to do to keep this community fulfilling its purpose’.

“One of the problems for the church today is we don’t know what we’re for.” Shakespeare, by contrast, was a master of the compelling presentation of complex themes. “I don’t happen to be Shakespeare.”

It’s an interesting short interview, conducted as he prepared for a 4 day public retreat on The Winter’s Tale. Read the interview to learn more about regrets from his tenure as archbishop and to find out about the short play he’s currently working on.


Posted by David Streever


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Rod Gillis

“Get thee to a nunn’ry, why woulds’t thou be a breeder of
sinners?” (Hamlet Act 3, scene 1)

“Ashes of laughter, the ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear
Like Ophelia?
Please darken my door”
( Robbie Robertson, “The Band”)

Who can tell who the real bard is?

Emily Windsor

I wish we had an “edit” capability. Here is my contribution to the our problem of being asked to limit our entire education to the 39 books of the Bible. … Come Let Us Make Man In Our Image . . . . I pulled this together for my grandchildren.

Emily Windsor

Oh, I forgot. The one piece of writing that got me on the road to asking questions was penned by Bishop Alexander Hisslop of the Church of England in the 19th century, “The Two Babylons.” I’ve never seen another official tract like it, for thorough research and timely discourse, how the ancient Babylonian and pre-Flood societies came to us, whole cloth, with all the traditions we still adhere to today. That book dovetails with Lloyd Pye’s presentation on human origins, perfectly.


Ann Fontaine

When I presided at my Uncle’s funeral – the family wanted 2 Shakespeare sonnets that were his favorites. First time I had preached those texts.

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