The Scandal of Holiness

Renewing Your Imagination in the Company of Literary Saints

Jessica Hooten Wilson

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Paperback: Awaiting Release
Publisher: Brazos Press
Publish Date: March 29, 2022
Language: English
ISBN-10: Awaiting Release
ISBN-13: Awaiting Release

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 Associate Professor of Literature at John Brown University. Read more here.



Articles & Essays

The Mind of a Mother and Maker

As a teenager I began to notice that the great women writers that I loved were not mothers—Flannery O’Connor, Emily Dickinson, and Jane Austen. This was a frightening observation to a young woman who wanted to be both a mother and a writer. Thankfully, I later…
Talks & Lectures

The Scandalous Holy

Watch "The Scandalous Holy" by Jessica Hooten Wilson at Oklahoma Baptist University on Youtube here. Listen to more of my talks on Dante's Divine Comedy.