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'William Blake: Radical Prophet' a Chichester Theological Society Lecture by Professor Christopher Rowland

Professor Christopher Rowland
Professor Christopher Rowland

Thursday 22nd February 2018 at 6.30pm

In the Cathedral Nave.  Free entry and all are welcome.

This illustrated lecture relates to a new book by Professor Christopher Rowland called: 'Radical Prophet: The Mystics, Subversives and Visionaries who Strove for Heaven on Earth' (I.B.Tauris, 2017). 

In this book he explores the fact that Christianity began with the conviction that the old order was finished.  The mysterious, elusive and charismatic figure of Jesus proclaimed that a new era, the Kingdom of God, was dawning.

Yet despite its success, and the conversion of the empire which had executed its founder, the religion he inspired was soon domesticated, its counter-cultural radicalism tamed, as the Church attempted to control both its doctrines and its followers.  Christopher Rowland shows that this was never the whole story, and in this lecture he will focus on the extraordinary figure of William Blake.  Blake may be best known for the words to the hymn 'Jerusalem', but that he was hardly an 'establishment' figure is indicated by his trial for sedition in the Assizes court at Chichester.  This was in 1803, during the four years of his life spent in Sussex.  Otherwise Blake lived in London, working as an engraver, mixing with dissident thinkers concerned with social justice and equality, and producing the visionary poetry and artwork for which he is renowned.

Christopher Rowland is Dean Ireland's Professor Emeritus of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture in the University of Oxford.  His many books include Blake and the Bible, Revelation (with Judith Kovacs), The Cambridge Companion to Liberation Theology, Christian Origins: The Setting and Character of the Most Important Messianic Sect of Judaism, and Radical Christian Writings: A Reader (with Andrew Bradstock).

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