success stories

Posted July 28, 2003

Book: Holiness: Past and Present
Edited by Stephen C. Barton
T & T Clark – A Continuum Imprint, New York, pp. 510

Excerpt from Jacket:

This book is about holiness, a moral and theological subject of enormous significance in the Bible, the Judeo-Christian tradition, the world religions generally and in the study of religion itself.

Stephen Barton has invited experts from a wide range of theological and related disciplines — biblical scholars, historians, social scientists, philosophers of religion, feminists, moral theologians and system theologians — to reflect on holiness. The contributors are inter-denominational and, in several cases, inter-religious. Their comprehensive range and interdisciplinary style make them an important resource for students and scholars in theology, church history, ethics, and religious studies.

Excerpt from Book:

The paradox of holiness is that the saints are there to show us what we could be, even if we can’t be. They are ordinary because they are of us, and extraordinary because they are beyond us: As Gladstone wrote of his dead friend Cardinal Manning, even after the worst had been said, he could ‘only look at him as a man looks at the stars.’ The saints are those of whom the world was not worthy. Through the writing of this essay I have been haunted by the concluding lines of Shaw’s play St. Joan: ‘O God that madest this beautiful earth, when will it be ready to receive Thy saints? How long, O Lord, how long?’ Yet in spite of Shaw, Joan triumphed at last, and a Christian must hold that ‘the only tragedy in life is not to be a saint’, to be other than God would have us be.

Table of Contents:

Part I Holiness in Theory
1. What is holiness?
2. Rudolf Otto’s The Idea of the Holy revisited
3. The sociology of holiness: the power of being good
4. Changing your holy ground: an ecology of sacred and secular in cities of the centre and the periphery

Part 2 Holiness and Scripture
5. Holiness in the priestly writings of the Old Testament
6. ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’" Isaiah’s Vision of God
7. The sanctification of time in the second temple period: case studies in the Septuagint
8. Jesus and holiness: the challenge of purity
9. Dislocating and relocating holiness: a New Testament Study

Part 3 Holiness and Christian Tradition
10. Holiness and the vision of God in the Eastern Fathers
11. Finding a via media: the moderation of holiness in fourth-century western asceticism
12. Benedictine holiness
13. Holiness in the English tradition: from prayer book to Puritans
14. Holiness in the evangelical tradition
15. Holiness in the Roman Catholic tradition
16. Mother of God, Mother of holiness: a meditation from orthodoxy

Part 4 Holiness and Contemporary Issues
17. Bonhoeffer, holiness and ethics
18. Holiness in extremis: Jewish women’s resistance to the profane in Auschwitz
19. Holiness ungendered
20. The communion of saints and other religions: on saintly wives in Hinduism and Catholicism
21. Material poverty or poverty of spirit? Holiness and the liberation of the poor
22. Whose sanctity of Life? Ricoeur, Dworkin and the human embryo
23. Worship and the formation of a holy people