Join acclaimed professor, author and speaker Jessica Hooten Wilson as she discusses her latest book The Scandal of Holiness: Renewing Your Imagination in the Company of Literary Saints.
About the book:
How do we become better people, the best possible versions of ourselves? We know that self-help books do not seem to help us (or else we wouldn’t have to buy a new one so often). And, no matter how hard we try to set new guidelines for our lives—with New Year’s resolutions, vision boards, thirty-day plans—these initiatives fail to compel us to live differently. We are unaware of who we are, how we have been made, for what purpose, and how change actually occurs. We settle for small goals such as frugal spending, less yelling at the kids, or more time in the gym, when we’ve been called to something far greater. We’ve been created to become saints.
Walking through classic works of literature such as Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop; cult favorites like Kristin Lavransdatter; popular Protestant novels such as C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength; canonically Catholic novels like The Diary of a Country Priest; lesser appreciated works such as Zora Neale Hurston’s Moses, Man of the Mountain, and others, Hooten Wilson draws from our multivalent Christian tradition to see holiness in the diverse array of saints. The characters in these novels replace the false heroes and idols handed to us by our culture and become the holy company we need to answer faithfully the Lord’s call to reform us into saints ourselves.
Jessica Hooten Wilson is the Louise Cowan Scholar in Residence at the University of Dallas. She is the author of Giving the Devil his Due: Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov, which received a 2018 "Christianity Today" Book of the Year Award in the Culture & the Arts; as well as two books on Walker Percy: The Search for Influence: Walker Percy and Fyodor Dostoevsky (Ohio State University Press, 2017) and Reading Walker Percy’s Novels (Louisiana State University Press, 2018); most recently she co-edited Solzhenitsyn and American Culture: The Russian Soul in the West (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020). She has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship to the Czech Republic, an NEH grant to study Dante in Florence in 2014, and the Biola Center for Christian Thought sabbatical fellowship. In 2018 she received the Emerging Public Intellectual Award given by a coalition of North American think tanks in collaboration with the Centre for Christian Scholarship at Redeemer University College, and in 2019 she received the Hiett Prize in Humanities from The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.