Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May/June 2012. In Honest Doubt: The History Of An Epic Struggle, Richard Holloway considers some of the universal questions about our existence and the meaning of life, and how some of humanity's best thinkers and most creative writers have approached these 'literally life and death questions'.
Nick Cave reads from his introduction to the earliest of the four Gospels, which portrays Jesus as an enigmatic figure, struggling with enemies, his inner and external demons, and with his devoted but disconnected disciples. Unlike other gospels, his parables are obscure, to be explained secretly to his followers. Cave's reading is preceded by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh, reading an extract from the gospel.
"This is only an excerpt!"
At 14, Richard Holloway left his home in the Vale of Leven, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood by a religious order in an English monastery. By 25, he had been ordained and was working in the slums of Glasgow. Throughout the following 40 years, Richard touched the lives of many people in the Church and in the wider community. But behind his confident public face lay a restless, unquiet heart and a constantly searching mind.
Doris Lessing reads from her introduction to Ecclesiastes or, the preacher. Ancient tradition suggests that this world-weary lament is the work of Solomon in old age. Casting its eye over the transient nature of life, the book questions the story for wisdom and the truth, choosing instead to espouse the value of living for the moment. The introduction is preceded by a reading from the book by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh.
Fay Weldon reads from her introduction to Corinthians. A figurehead of the early Christian church, Paul sets out some of his thoughts on strife and division, spirituality, the bond of marriage and hopes for his own immortality in this book. Her introduction is preceded by a reading from the book by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh.
Will Self reads from his introduction to Revelation, the final book of the Bible, which prophesises the ultimate judgement of mankind in a series of allegorical visions, grisly images, and numerological predictions. According to these, empires will fall, the 'Beast' will be destroyed, and Christ will rule a new Jerusalem. The introduction is preceded by a reading from the book by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh.
"Will Self Writes and Narrates this Intro."