What is consciousness? Is the mind a machine? What makes us persons? How can we find the path to human maturity?

These are among the fundamental questions that Rowan Williams helps us to think about in this deeply engaging exploration of what it means to be human.

The book ends with a brief but profound meditation on the person of Christ, inviting us to consider how, through him, ‘our humanity in all its variety, in all its vulnerability, has been taken into the heart of the divine life’.

With discussion questions for personal or group use at the end of each chapter, this is a book that readers of all religious persuasions will find both challenging and highly rewarding.


1. What is consciousness?
2. What is a person?
3. Bodies, minds and thoughts
4. Faith and human flourishing
5. Silence and human maturity

Epilogue: Humanity transfigured


In Being Human, Rowan Williams, one of today’s most brilliant and profound thinkers, has produced a rich and thought-provoking meditation on the themes of consciousness, language, relationship, speech, silence and what it is to be a person. A marvellous and moving work: philosophical theology at its very best. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Through an elegant exploration of the nature of human consciousness Being Human convincingly debunks current discourse about the value of autonomy as the foundation of self-confidence, restoring human narrative and relationships to the heart of our being. A fascinating book, worthy of reflection and discussion. Baroness Sheila Hollins, Emeritus Professor of the psychiatry of learning disability at St George’s, University of London

‘Rowan William’s most striking characteristics are his humanity and his fine intellect. Here he uses both gifts quite brilliantly to illuminate what it means to be human. A stimulating collection of provocative yet reassuring essays. A gift from an exceptional man.‘ Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, FRSA, Chair of Justice – the UK section of the International Commission of Jurists

Williams never disappoints: his reflections on such important topics as the nature of consciousness, how we view time, and the wisdom of silence make vital reading. Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary

One of the strengths of this book is that Williams recognises religion can go bad. He defends a proper sense of dependence but distinguishes this from the infantilism certain institutions encourage. The Church of England Newspaper

This book is cooler in tone, more academic and less direct, but it is learned, insightful and illuminating. Nobody concerned with the present state of humanity should miss it. The Tablet



Being Human is published by SPCK and can be purchased by CLICKING HERE




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Rowan Williams


Neil Gardner


Neil Gardner



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