This book offers a critical edition of arguably the greatest work of English theology in the 20th century: Austin Farrer's Bampton Lectures published as The Glass of Vision in 1948. Farrer was an interdisciplinary genius who made original contributions to philosophy, theology, and biblical studies, as well as to our understanding of the role of imagination in human thought and Christian doctrine. According to Farrer, the three primary themes of these lectures are 'scripture, metaphysics, and poetry,' individually and in relation to each other. The lectures defend his famous theory of divine revelation through images rather than propositions or events, a provocative account of the place of metaphysical reasoning in theology, and a literary approach to the Biblical text that was decades ahead of its time and is still controversial. The Glass of Vision has generated a rich and interesting interdisciplinary conversation that has lasted for decades, starting with commentators such as Helen Gardner and Frank Kermode. In addition to Farrer's full text, this critical edition also contains an introduction to the significance and context of Farrer's thought, and a selection of thirty-years' worth of commentary by leading British and European theologians and literary scholars: David Brown, Ingolf Dalferth, Hans Haugh, Douglas Hedley, David Jasper, and Gerard Loughlin. Of interest to literary and biblical scholars, theologians, and philosophers, this book holds particular value for those exploring the nature of imagination in contemporary thought and scholarship.
Robert MacSwain is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics, The School of Theology, The University of the South, Sewanee, TN, USA. The author of Solved by Sacrifice: Austin Farrer, Fideism, and the Evidence of Faith (Peeters, 2013), he has also co-edited four previous volumes: with Jeffrey Stout, Grammar and Grace: Reformulations of Aquinas and Wittgenstein (SCM Press, 2004); with Ann Loades, The Truth-Seeking Heart: Austin Farrer and His Writings (Canterbury Press, 2006); with Michael Ward,The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press, 2010); and with Taylor Worley, Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture: Responses to the Work of David Brown (Oxford University Press, 2012).
’Theological readers owe MacSwain and his contributors a great debt for renewing our careful attention to Austin Farrer's The Glass of Vision. A fresh generation of scholars stands to benefit immeasurably by learning from Farrer's deep, catholic imagination. These lectures, and the whole of Farrer's work, display his standing as a nonpareil reader of Scripture and the Anglican Christian tradition.' A.K.M. Adam, St Stephen's House, Oxford University, UK