- Published: 01/11/2018
- ISBN: 9781847089236
- 352 pages
The Minister and the Murderer
In 1969, James Nelson confessed to murder, served a prison sentence, then applied to be ordained as a minster in the Scottish Church (The Kirk). The case split the church in two, and challenged the institution to consider its most basic functions, obligations and duties. Part of the problem was that James Nelson’s crime was no ordinary crime. The bible has a lot to say about murder, but not about this particular variety of murder.
Stuart Kelly uses the case of Nelson to write a compelling history of the church in Scotland, of biblical and literary accounts of forgiveness and sin. The Minister and The Murderer is a gripping piece of literary detective work weaving textual analysis with memoir and narrative non-fiction. This is a book of soul-searching and speculation, deep thinking and fine writing. It is a knotty, riveting and mind-expanding investigation of truth and faith.
The Minister and The Murderer is wickedly, reverently good. Stuart Kelly explores the fascinating case of James Nelson, a convicted murderer who sought to be ordained, with polymathic intelligence, empathy, and wit. His ingeniously prismatic and allusive approach - part history, part homily, part Biblical exegesis, and part confession - touches every field of the humanities; it is also enormous fun to read, unfolding almost like a postmodern thriller. I loved it
A colossal achievement. This is one of the most moving and profound books I have read in a long time
Part true crime, part Theology of Despair, The Minister and the Murderer explores the hard borders of faith in the real world. A beautiful, deeply thought-provoking exploration of the history and purpose of faith
Stuart Kelly on Granta.com
Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition
The Bible As Literature, Literature As Scripture
'Literature and literary criticism took me away from the Church as a teenager, and literature and literary criticism brought me back to it later.'
Essays & Memoir | Granta 123
Remembering Iain M Banks
Stuart Kelly remembers Iain Banks, and assesses the influence he's had on this generation of writers.