A demystification of the complex interplay of the prolific Anglican theologian's writings
Light in a Burning-Glass introduces readers to the distinctive synthesis of theological reflection and everyday faith that characterizes the life and theology of Austin Farrer (1904–1968), a man widely considered to be the most important Anglican theologian of the twentieth century. Often quoted for isolated insights but rarely appreciated for his depth and coherency, Farrer is a theologian who, according to Robert Boak Slocum, is fascinating to consider but difficult to master. In this survey and explanation of the Anglican leader's prodigious output and complexity of thought, Slocum sorts through Farrer's many writings to articulate his theological vision.
Slocum delves into Farrer's treatises, essays, lectures, correspondence, and reviews in an exploration of his three primary areas of theological concern: pastoral, biblical, and philosophical. Noting that few theologians have published so many significant works in such varied areas of theological study, Slocum maps the connectedness of thought that unites Farrer's works.
Slocum moves from a basic study of Farrer's background and methodology to a consideration of his major themes, including his understanding of Christian hope, the problem of evil, the role of image and imagination in Christian faith, the use of literary methods in the interpretation of theology, and the interplay of divine action and human freedom in the Christian life.
Robert Boak Slocum is a lecturer in the Department of Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the author of The Theology of William Porcher DuBose: Life, Movement, and Being. Coconvenor of the Society for the Study of Anglicanism, Slocum has served as president of the Society of Anglican and Lutheran Theologians and as review article editor of the Anglican Theological Review.
"Austin Farrer was a brilliant but decidedly individualistic theologian, sparkling with wit but not easily categorized. Robert Boak Slocum's helpful book clarifies much of Farrer's complexity and shows a unity across his various writings. As such, Slocum's work makes a valuable contribution to Anglican theology."—John Macquarrie, Emeritus Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford
"In this penetrating and prescient study, Robert Slocum offers a superlative guide to Austin Farrer's works, simultaneously surveying and explaining his output in fields such as preaching, philosophy, and biblical scholarship. Slocum's study of Farrer also encompasses an appreciation of his originality, eloquence, and deep spirituality, as well as taking account of the considerable diversity of genres employed by Farrer, including treatises, reviews, lectures, essays and correspondence. The great achievement of Slocum's work is to provide a coherent, connected, and highly illuminating account of Farrer's diversity of output and extensity of thought, which will help the reader to become better acquainted with one the twentieth century's most significant Anglican theologians."—Martyn Percy, Principal, Ripon College Cuddesdon