Being human isn’t easy. We might think that consciousness and free will give us control over our lives but our minds are unpredictable places. We are susceptible to forces we don’t understand. We are capable of inflicting immense cruelty on one another and yet we also have the capacity to be tender, to empathise, to feel.
In his thought-provoking new book Richard Holloway holds a mirror up to the human condition. By drawing on a colourful and eclectic selection of writings from history, philosophy, science, poetry, theology and literature, Holloway shows us how we can stand up to the seductive power of the monster and draw closer to the fierce challenge of the saint.
“A vigorously argued tract…Richard Holloway brilliantly illuminates the divided spirit of man.”
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“Holloway is probably my favourite former bishop. Since retiring from the church, he has written powerfully and poignantly on the human condition. In this book, he draws on an eclectic set of writings across history, science, poetry, and philosophy to explore just how difficult it is to be human. Ultimately, it is honesty and an analysis of his own failings that put into sharp relief the problem of being an instinctual animal with frontal lobes that sit in judgement”
“This is an inspirational writer at the height of his powers who does not shy away from personal revelation…His message deserves to be widely heard. It stands between us and chaos.”
“‘Between the Monster and the Saint’ is an eloquent disquisition on humankind’s self-division between our finer and our baser inclinations.”
independent On Sunday
“Holloway writes with clarity and compassion, and when whatever differences of means are set aside between him and other friends of humanity, all can agree that the end he has in view - that we should look on one another with eyes of sympathy - surely commands agreement.”
One of the most outspoken and best-loved figures in the modern church, Richard Holloway recently stood down as the Bishop of Edinburgh but remains Gresham Professor of Divinity in the City of London and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has written for many newspapers in Britain including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Herald and the Scotsman and has presented his own series on BBC Television.