Homo poeta: Rowan Williams and poetic anthropology

Patrick John McGlinchey*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Rowan Williams's trinitarian ontology rests on the affirmation of eros within God and the ‘irreducible otherness’ of the divine persons to one another. The divine persons are accordingly conceived in ek-static terms as ‘giving more than they are’. In the generation of the Son and the spiration of the Spirit we discern the ‘timeless making other that is intrinsic to God's being’. It is this poetics from above that is the ‘fountainhead’ of finite human creativity on Williams's view, and more specifically, the eternal filial reality of the Son as the Art, Image or Sign of the Father. Conversely, his poetics from below begins with a phenomenology of artistic labour and linguistic practice that is acutely alert to the material and temporalized conditions of human making. In this article, I elaborate and defend the coordination and mutual illumination provided by his poetics from above and from below which affects a significant reworking of how we imagine the relation between the finite and the infinite. What emerges from this re-working, I will argue, is a profound, ecstatic and ‘personalist’ view of the material and temporal human creature becoming ‘hypostatic’ via a filial mode of creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalModern Theology
VolumeEarly View
Early online date28 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 May 2024


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