Sunday, November 26, 2006


Rowan Williams in his recent lecture on St Benedict and the Future of Europe: "Borrowing a Hegelian insight refined by the late Gillian Rose in her political philosophy, we must say that every initial self-description of a person’s or a community’s interest is necessarily involved in error to the extent that it has not yet fully engaged with what is other to it, with the stranger whose presence may first be felt as a threat or a problem. Good governance and government is always about an engagement with the other, a developing relation that is neither static confrontation nor competition, but an interaction producing some sort of common language and vision, a common vision that could not have been defined in advance of the encounter."

About the last days of Gillian Rose, one of our finest philosophers. "[Two] years before her death, she was told she had cancer. It spread swiftly throughout her body, but her indomitable mind refused to accept the finality of life. She carried on thinking and one day, to everyones surprise, asked Simon Barrington-Ward [a close friend, and then Bishop of Coventry] if he would baptise and confirm her [into the Anglican Church] and give her her first communion. Characteristically she wanted to make a party of it. She invited some professional philosopher friends to her baptism - Jews, Christians and atheists alike, who were all coming to Warwick University for a conference she had long planned. But it was too happy an ending to conclude in that way. Just a few hours before the agreed time, the hospital 'phoned to tell the Bishop that Gillian was slipping into a last sleep. He rushed to her bedside and was just in time to baptise and confirm her. She could only make her responses with a squeeze of the hand ... But Gillian's party went ahead. The Bishop told of Gillian's baptism and her friends, believers and atheists alike, wept and rejoiced for a friend whose journey was over." [ACNS]

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