♪ On Heresy — Fr. Macdonald-Radcliff (02/18/20)

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The Rev’d Canon Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff:

How to Choose Your Heresy:

An Introductory Guide to This Perennially Popular Primrose Path.

Listen: The Talk.

Rowan Greer,  the late Professor of Yale Divinity School and  distinguished church historian, used to be fond of saying of modern Episcopalians that, “We are all Pelagians now”. His ironic remark highlights the point that not being a heretic may be harder than many suppose for modern Christians. After all,  there is a marked strand in present Western culture which sees some degree of dissent from almost any historic tradition as a prerequisite of sophistication (and if used in its earliest sense this may be true).

Such considerations give interest, not only to the history of heresy in Christianity,  which is as long as the history of the Church itself, but also to the meaning of the concept and its distinction from apostasy and blasphemy. Moreover, far from being a merely historic concept,  it is increasingly evident that in an age of ever more strident idealogical puritanism the concept looks likely to have a new and even brighter future ahead. This presentation will look thus both at some of the recurring tendencies that have defined the most common forms of Christian heresy but also at the nature and continuing significance of the concept itself, thus enabling those still determined to go down the heretical path to make their choices in ways that are (in the spirit of a consumerist age) at least in some degree better informed.


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Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff, first studied Ancient History and Philosophy before taking advanced degrees in Philosophy of Religion and Theology, studying in Oxford and Yale where he was Research Fellow and also studied Islam and took a Degree with international Relations. After ordination, he worked on international and development issues before working for Lord Carey the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury and appointment as Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum where he designed the Council of One Hundred Leaders West Islamic Dialogue later followed by appointment as Senior Advisor to the King Abdallah Dialogue Center in Vienna. A former Dean of All Saints’ Cathedral Cairo he has worked extensively on interfaith matters as well as sustainable development while based in the Middle East and Europe as well as North America.
7 p.m.
Feb 18, 2020
MAST’ Restaurant and Drinkery
The Lower Bar
45 Province Street, Boston
Join us for Evening Prayer before the talk at 5:30 p.m.
The Church of the Advent
30 Brimmer Street, Boston, Mass.