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Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt von [Holloway, Richard]
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Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt Kindle Edition

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"At a time when the world has urgently needed wise and compassionate leadership, this poignant memoir, written with the integrity, intelligence and wit that we expect from Richard Holloway, lays bare the ludicrous and entirely unnecessary mess we have made of religion." --Karen Armstrong

"Vivid and fascinating . . . A delight and inspiration to believers, non-believers, and ex-believers alike." --Philip Pullman

"A highly readable insight into one of the most humane and engaged minds of our times. It is, quite simply, a wonderful book." --Alexander McCall Smith

"Holloway, former bishop of Edinburgh, presents a nuanced view of religion and discusses his struggles as he veered between doubt and belief." --"Booklist"


* At a time when the world has urgently needed wise and compassionate leadership, this poignant memoir, written with the integrity, intelligence and wit that we expect from Richard Holloway, lays bare the ludicrous and entirely unnecessary mess we have made of religion Karen Armstrong * Leaving Alexandria is many things. It is a compelling account of a journey through life, told with great frankness; it is a subtle reflection on what it means to live in an imperfect and puzzling world; and it is a highly readable insight into one of the most humane and engaged minds of our times. It is, quite simply, a wonderful book -- Alexander McCall Smith * Richard Holloway's memoir is endlessly vivid and fascinating. It's the record of a mind too large, too curious and far too generous to be confined within any single religious denomination. His account of how a passionate, intelligent boy grew out of a poor and deprived background without ever losing touch with the humane values it gave him, will be a delight and inspiration to believers, non-believers, and ex-believers alike -- Philip Pullman * An enlightening walk through a life that encompasses West Africa, the Gorbals, rent strikes, the divided self and the question of grace -- Mark Cousins Scotland on Sunday * is rare to find someone in whom intellectual and emotional intelligence combine so movingly -- Maggie Ferguson Intelligent Life * Nobody could fail to be intensely moved by the final chapters of his memoir ... a deeply lovable man; and what a wonderful book he has written -- Mary Warnock The Observer * Leaving Alexandriagives a profound sense of the benefits, as well as the difficulties, that accrue from taking a zigzag path through life ... it summarises an argument that a lot of people will find sympathetic, as well as compelling -- Andrew Motion The Guardian * Captures the bewildering range of churches within the Church ... Holloway certainly throws down the gauntlet - with a quiet, elegiac passion - to Christians who arm themselves in certainty ... They should read this wide, erudite book as a matter of urgency -- David Robson The Sunday Telegraph * This book offers quite unique insights into a troubled, contemporary religious mind. It also reminds us that, in Richard Holloway, Episcopal Edinburgh may have lost a thoughtful bishop but Scotland gained a unique social critic and commentator -- Alex Wood Lothian Life * This is a portrait of a formerly devoted Christian who, by confessing his faults and doubts to us, becomes exemplary, an Everyman, and a guide to how we too might lose faith without sacrificing our souls -- Alain De Botton The Times * This is a deeply moving and disturbing biography. Holloway, is a confident author, assured when recreating both the past and the feelings that moments evoked...A writer capable of considerable brilliance, an intellectual who can provoke thought, a genuinely good man trying to be better The Herald * Peppered with prose and poetry, the book underlines a profound love of literature. Holloway's own writing style is elegant and lucid, particularly when addressing religion -- James Carson The Skinny * This is an intellectual account which is thoughtful, starkly honest, and at moments touching in its understated wisdom and sensitivity ... an engaging examination of an individual's growth as a compassionate human being -- Catherine Larner We Love this Book * It absorbs and refreshes the mind ... it is the pleasure of following a good, restless mind through questions that afflict all but the most thoughtless -- John Lloyd Financial Times * Wise, sympathetic and absorbing ... it is a profoundly humane vision of what religion should be -- Jenni Russell Sunday Times * Beautifully written and dramaturgically candid -- Pat Kane The Independent * Leaving Alexandriais a profound, personal investigation of the virtues and flaws of religion and the most stirring autobiography I have read in a great many years. It is also a meditation on the nature of one's own identity -- John Gray New Statesman * At a moment when religious and atheistic attitudes are becoming increasingly hardened, the former Bishop of Edinburgh offers a timely reminder that faith shares a greater philosophical affinity with doubt than with certainty ... this wholly humane book chisels out an oasis for calm contemplation amid today's hysterical religious battlegrounds Metro * A beautifully written and often funny, emotional and intellectual self-exploration by one of the most extraordinary churchmen of our time -- Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times * His memoirs are not a chronicle of achievement but rather a study of failure and frustration. Marked by a searing honesty and an almost morbid sense of introspection, they make for a disturbing and unsettling read which brought me close to tears more than once The Tablet * [Leaving Alexandria] could have been a litany of self-justification, or an awakening to enlightenment. Instead, it's the book of his life: the engrossing log of a troubled, thoughtful, clouded journey from certainty to doubt -- Susannah Herbert Mail on Sunday


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2775 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 369 Seiten
  • Verlag: Canongate Books (1. März 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B006LN5230
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen 1 Kundenrezension
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #191.196 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A wonderful man, seduced as we are by what cannot be defined, and what makes us human. And then, his realization that religion, once pronounced absolute, is so dangerous in its non-scientific claims and intolerance. He realizes we need the arts, and religion is part of the arts, and it is human, not godly, and this makes the book fascinating. If you don't have the time to read it all, the epilogue is fabulous, it says it all.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x9bde3aec) von 5 Sternen 40 Rezensionen
27 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9bb2f7bc) von 5 Sternen A religious journey 30. März 2012
Von Ralph Blumenau - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
I greatly admired Richard Holloway's book "Looking into the Distance" (see my review), so was eager to read this his autobiography. It chronicles his religious journey. This began with his entry at the age of 14 into the Anglo-Catholic Society of the Sacred Mission at Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire, a monastic establishment which trained mainly working-class boys and young men for the priesthood. In due course he joined the novitiate. But already he fought internal battles, aware of his spiritual shortcomings. For this and for a variety of other reasons he resigned from the Order in his mid-twenties; but he remained an Anglo-Catholic, was ordained and became a curate in the Gorbals. Here he became aware of appalling social problems and of the call as Christian to engage in a very different kind of fight, not centred on himself but on the world.

More and more he felt that religion was made for man and not man for religion. He became increasingly impatient of doctrine, when it banned marriage between divorced people (and later between those of the same sex); most of all when it divided denominations to the extent that they would not share the Eucharist. And then he began to doubt not only the miracles of the Bible but the very existence of God; and he found it impossible to preach as if he believed in them. He talks about the "presence of an absence". Yet, hard though he found it to refute atheism, he did not want to abandon religion, increasingly beleaguered as it is in the world; and he found faith in those passages of the Bible which speak of Unconditional Love. This enabled him to accept a post as Rector of a church in Edinburgh in 1968.

It is perhaps surprising that, with his views, he was elected Bishop of Edinburgh in 1986. Though now in a position of authority, his utterances, in preaching and in writing, became more and more anti-authoritarian, and subverting many of the key aspects of the Christian moral tradition, especially about sex. He became a patron of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. He became an increasingly controversial figure, not helped by what he admits were sometimes careless formulations, and on one occasion a positive crude one. The tabloid press called him "the Barmy Bishop". In a book in 1999 he suggested that we leave God out of debates about morality. The result was that Archbishop Carey chose a visit to Scotland, where Holloway was Primus, to declare the book "erroneous". When Holloway found that substantial numbers of the Episcopal Church in Scotland turned against him, he resigned as Bishop in 2000.

There is much wisdom in his reflections about religion, about its institutionalization, about the cruelties resulting from gender and sexual prejudices. There are his sensitive reactions to human suffering, to nature, to poetry, and to the vibes sent out by different church buildings (though I think we could have been spared the frequent detailed descriptions of their geographical locations).

He is unsparingly honest about his spiritual shortcomings. There is constant self-examination and self-accusation: he describes himself as a phony, as playing a role which is not genuine. He reproaches himself for attitudinizing; he is envious of people who, unlike him, do good without great effort or self-consciousness; he is always conflicted and disappointed with himself. He recounts the many occasions when he gave expression to his undoubtedly deep and sincere feelings by theatrical gestures: for a while embracing "speaking in tongues"; living for six months a totally communal life with two other families at the expense of his own family (wife and three children); ceremonially throwing his mitre into the Thames in 1998; after his resignation as bishop disposing of the scripts of forty years of sermons in bin-bags. He deliberately runs the risk that one may think less of him for all that he reveals in these confessions and that the very confessions are somewhat theatrical, when one should think more of him for his honesty. I have to say that my own reactions to the book are mixed in this way.
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9bb2f810) von 5 Sternen Leaving Alexandria 2. April 2012
Von pronter - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Richard Holloway's "Leaving Alexandria" is a powerful, honest and moving book. Any Christian reading it will inevitably take a seriously realistic look at his/her own faith, and hopefully emerge the stronger for it. I knew Richard as a theological student and have great respect for him. He has a lovely sense of humour, and this comes through in his book. I am immensely pleased to have read it. Bless him.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9bb2fc48) von 5 Sternen Humanity wins! 23. Dezember 2013
Von Maverick - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
This is simply one of the best books I've ever read. Not because I agree with Richard Holloway on every theological point (I'm an evangelical), but because his openness, transparency and honesty shines through on every page.

Frederick Buechner writes that "the older we grow, the more we find ourselves returning to the days when we were young", and this is precisely the case with Holloway from the outset in this absorbing and superbly written memoir. Indeed, it is so well written that perhaps his calling should have been that of a writer rather than a priest.

I've learned a tremendous amount through the experience of weighing Holloway's personal reflections. He's right that many preachers become imposters to themselves out of tenderness toward their hearers. He's right that the romantic is always in pursuit while the realist wants to possess. He's right that all institutions over-claim for themselves and end up believing more in their own existence than in the vision that propelled them into existence in the first place. He's right that religions may begin as vehicles of longing for mysteries beyond description, but they end up claiming exclusive descriptive rights to them. And he's right that they shift from poetry to packaging!

I could go on about how he's right...

For example, that people want the promised land of certainty and religious realists are quick to provide it for them; that the opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty; that so often the 'Christian test' is about words, the right words; that there is a verbal promiscuity about religion and an absolute confidence with which it talks about what is beyond our knowing, reducing the mystery of what is beyond all utterance to chatter; that atheists and theists both have the tendency to be certain, one calls the chess-board white, the other one black; that so often there seems to be more forgiveness outside the Church than in; and that the claims of religion to unique authority has so often led to manifest cruelty.

Here's a great example of his honesty and humility: "We live ourselves forward and understand ourselves backward, but I had not lived long or reflectively enough to know who I was." Holloway writes extensively about what he considers to be his personal failures. All I can say is that this beautiful book of his will help many readers to learn from a man looking back more about themselves.

From his early years, Holloway felt a sense of transcendence, that something beyond. With Emily Dickinson, he sensed that the world is not conclusion; and with Ludwig Wittgenstein, that to be religious is to know that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter. Ecclesiastes in the Bible touches on this, stating that God has set eternity in our hearts. As for the Christian claim that God has intervened in history and done things that we are called on to believe, Holloway doesn't seem to believe this any more as he reaches the end of his life. I choose to stubbornly continue to believe this, and take my inspiration from theologians such as N.T. Wright who is by no means a narrow-minded fundamentalist but writes beautifully of the hope we have in Christ.

I wish Richard Holloway all the very best, and thank him for his profoundly moving memoir.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9bb3a018) von 5 Sternen A genuine and thoughtful book 8. April 2012
Von Terrafirma - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
The journey of the author from belief to doubt is personal, intense and above all genuine. There is no bitterness, no blame game. It is an exceedingly thoughtful book, tender and gentle, yet the doubts deep-rooted and unforgiving. It is a book that should be read by all, both believers and non-believers, but especially those who make a virtue of believing blindly.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9bb2ffa8) von 5 Sternen A warm and moving journey 27. November 2012
Von Deirdre O'Sullivan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
It was a privilege and pleasure to leave Alexandria with this writer of such compassion and integrity. Easy to identify with all his searchings. Liked especially that he could tell his tale with such a lightness of being despite the underlying level of sadness. What a shame that such REAL leaders find themselves 'on the edge'.
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