Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Darren C. Marks


This thesis explores the relationship between Rowan Williams and Mikhail Bakhtin, especially Bakhtin’s notion of polyphony. This thesis traces the presence of the polyphonic approach in Williams’ work to three main issues: the debate around the nature and future of the Anglican Communion, the debate around the place of Christianity in the increasingly secular modern West and the debate around the nature of faith presented in the works of Dostoevsky. Adopting Bakhtin’s polyphonic approach, Williams sees the need for an on-going conversation, one that argues for the equality of voices within a conversation, one that resists the impulse toward closure and one that resists the impulse toward uttering a final word in a debate. This thesis also touches on the polyphonic quality of the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Vern S. Poythress and John Gray.