Carmichael, Liz

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Carmichael, Liz

(E.D.H. Carmichael)


Female. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, current affairs, world development and peacemaking, skiing, and commissioning new music.


Office—Theology Faculty Centre, 41 St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3LW, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Chaplain, educator, and writer. St. John's College, Oxford, England, chaplain and tutor in theology.


Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love, T & T Clark International (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Freedom to Rejoice: Understanding St. John of the Cross, edited by N. Cummins, Collins, 1991; Women Hold up Half the Sky:Women in the Church in Southern Africa, edited by D. Ackerman and others, Cluster Publications, 1991; Archbishop Tutu: Prophetic Witness in South Africa, Festschrift for Archbishop Tutu, edited by L. Hulley, L. Kretschmar, and L.L. Pato, Human and Rousseau, 1996; and The Story of Christian Spirituality, edited by G. Mursell, Lion, 2001. Contributor to periodicals, including New Fire, Mount Carmel, and South African Outlook.


Liz Carmichael, also commonly known as E.D.H. Carmichael, is a chaplain and theology teacher whose interests include the New Testament Gospels, ethics and spirituality, and systematic theology. In Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love, Carmichael examines the theological underpinnings of love as it pertains to relationship and especially the love of friendship.

Writing in the book's prologue, the author notes that the book grew partially out of her time living in South Africa during apartheid. The author writes: "What marked out those who lived in a manner that was significantly different from the pattern of apartheid society, was that they had taken trouble and risks to form and maintain friendships across the racial divides." The author adds: "It seems that friendship was the shape that genuine love took, and that to be genuine, love could not be less than an offer of friendship. Yet despite the fact that Christians were among the foremost of such friends, it was rarely if at all that one heard this being explicitly discussed, explored, and encouraged in churches."

The author begins her book with a look at classical friendship and the New Testament view of love. She then discusses caritas, or charity, as the great Christian virtue as seen through the eyes and works of three saints: Ambrose, Cassian, and Augustine. She also writes of Thomas Aquinas and his views of caritas as friendship with God and of the views of Catholics, Anglicans, and reformers concerning Christian charity. In the book's conclusion, Carmichael addresses living a life that values friendship. The author notes: "Christians have the essential counter-cultural calling to be friends on earth, to offer love which may be in the truest sense sacrificial, to build community, to be peacemakers and healers, to seek and promote compassion and justice, to walk with the oppressed and help their voice be heard, to celebrate with all."

Several reviewers had high praise for Friendship. Noting that the author's goal is "to rehabilitate the category of friendship as the main stage for the acting-out of Christian love," Lesley Smith, writing in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, observed that the author's "book is certain to remind every reader of the pleasures of friendship." Theological Studies contributor William Thompson-Uberuaga wrote that the author "offers a uniquely comprehensive study of friendship in philosophy and Christian theology," adding: "Her analyses—detailed and critical when appropriate—open up the varied dimensions of this rich topic."



Carmichael, Liz, Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love, T & T Clark International (New York, NY), 2004.


Christian Century, July 12, 2005, review of Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love, p. 6.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January, 2006, Lesley Smith, "Friendship: A Way of Interpreting Christian Love; A Study of Western Culture Tradition," p. 93.

Theological Studies, September, 2007, William Thompson-Uberuaga, review of Friendship, p. 723.

Theology, November-December, 2005, Teresa Morgan, "Interpreting Christian Love," review of Friendship.


St. John's College Web site, (July 23, 2008), faculty profile of author.

University of Oxford, Faculty of Theology Web site, (July 23, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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