The themes covered in this collection of essays span a wide area, from Christology and the doctrine of God to human rights and Christian spirituality, and they were written and delivered in a variety of contexts, from colleges to churches, on both sides of the Atlantic. Some have been published previously, while others are new. The papers speak from within the liberal tradition of theology, and were written from 2005-14, following on an earlier volume, Traces of Liberality. The author has added a biographical essay and a personal bibliography.
spirit of liberality
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Arjan Plaisier believes audiences who view Shakespeare performances and readers who study the plays deserve better than some of the recent interpretations of the Bard's work. In their attempt to be modern, these interpreters commit historical amnesia by slighting the Christian ethos of the early Renaissance period in which Shakespeare wrote and by riding roughshod over the religious underpinnings of his plays. This neglect skews the playwright's intentions, confuses the audience, and diminishes the full effect of the play. Plaisier, too, is modern--and in a more profound sense. He sets forth how Shakespeare shapes his plots to conform at an ultimate level to timeless biblical narrative patterns (like Northrop Frye, he regards the Bible as a code book), so that there is a right ending to the work. And in an Appendix, Plaisier provides some kindly advice to his fellow pastors. You do well, he says to them, to enrich your noble calling with attention to literature. To do this, he says, you will find Shakespeare most helpful. Yes, and Plaisier's perceptive essays point to the deep wisdom in Shakespeare by which we can all live.
First published in 1938, these lectures argue that liberality is the foundation of civilization. According to Gilbert Murray, civilization provides the surplus of security, leisure and wealth that makes liberality possible; a failure of liberality is the surest test of the failure of a civilization. This is a fascinating reissue that will be of great value to students with an interest in political philosophy and the foundations of liberal society.