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God’s Wrong Is Most Of All

Divine Capacity
Per Necessitatem Christianus

Kenneth Cragg was first in Jerusalem in 1939, and subsequently became deeply involved in areas of faith between Semitic religions under the stress of current politics. He later pursued doctoral studies in Oxford where he first graduated and became ‘Prizeman’in Theology and Moral Philosophy, and where he is now an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College. He was a Bishop in the Anglican Jurisdiction in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Middle East, and played ecclesiastical roles in Africa and India. A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures is a companion book to his Readings in the Qur’an (1988; 1999), and more broadly to his Faiths in Their Pronouns: Websites of Identity (2002). Other works by Bishop Cragg, and published by Sussex Academic Press, include: With God in Human Trust –Christian Faith and Contemporary Humanism; The Weight in the Word –Prophethood, Biblical and Quranic; and The Education of Christian Faith.

‘We do not do God’, politicians may say, explaining that theirs is the art of the possible. Some theologians have been reluctant with that plea, whilst practising the art of the assured. But what might ‘God doing God’ entail? ‘God’ is a relational word involved in human mutuality. With God, ‘doing’ is one with ‘being’. There is always a ‘God and …’ situation obtaining: ‘God and the astronomers’, ‘God and the tsunami’. Then quickly a ‘God but …’ situation emerges and the ‘wrong’ with it. Shakespearean repartee (‘God’s wrong is most of all: if thou didst fear to break an oath with him’, Richard III, Act IV, Scene 4), and from Macbeth and King Lear, may help us focus further the inherent discrepancies of approach.

Moreover, by long oath-taking tradition we invoke God in verifying verity, putting perjury on the line. What then of this universal guarantor of truth who is, by the same token, for ever blameworthy? Hence the theme of ‘divine capacity’ (a wiser term here than ‘omnipotence’). For can there be a deep costliness, a ‘wrong-bearing’, on the part of God vis-à-vis the human scene, with its cry for compassion, pardon and redemption? Christian faith has always believed there is and traces it in this gift of habitable earth and more surely, in the Cross of Christ. That Cross, it has been said, ‘is the avowal and acceptance of divine responsibility’.

If, in that human scene, love can turn suffering because of into suffering on behalf of, may it not be so with a love divine? ‘Because of’ is plainly there in broken faith, angry blasphemy, base injustice, ‘the sins of the world’. Perhaps the other is known for real in the drama where all these, being suffered, were representatively turned to our salvation. That they were, this book explores.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-140-5
Paperback Price: £17.95 / $29.95
Release Date: February 2006
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Chapter Synopses


1 God – Ever Blame-worthy, Ever Oath-worthy
2 Shakespeare's Dramatic Mind and Art
3 Comprehending Divine Unity
4 That Primal Suspicion
5 Divine Integrity in Human Covenant
6 Divine Integrity in Christ
7 Cares and 'Bewares' in the Trust of Doctrine
8 Versions of Vocabulary
9 The Necessary Ministries of Doubt
10 Expediencies of Politics
11 An Honest Will to Faith
12 The Wounded Name and its Kindred Servants

Index of Names, Terms and Phrases
Biblical References
Quranic References

Review Quotes to Follow

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