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Title: The pursuit of holiness in modernity : Therese of Lisieux and William J. Seymour compared
Author: Knutsen, James B.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3601 2829
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
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Holiness has fascinated, plagued and mystified the Church for nearly two millennia. One of the most significant controversies on this theme is the issue of cultural influence. With this in mind, I have selected two contemporary figures from very different cultural backgrounds for modem-d~y comparison and contrast in this matter: Therese of Lisieux and William J. Seymour. While both lived near the tum of the last century, they came from vastly dissimilar cultural milieus: Therese from the Republican Monarchist conflict of late nineteenth-century France and Seymour from the post-Civil War racism of American history. Yet, with all of their differences, each strove with utmost diligence to pursue a holy life. This thesis will demonstrate the elements of holiness that are supra-cultural by highlighting the commonalities of these two innovative thinkers and will also illustrate important elements of distinction between them. Both faced a critical cultural dilemma in their day - in America, racism; in France, class division - therefore it is essential to portray the manner in which each overcame, or attempted to overcome, his or her cultural hurdle. Despite societal limitations, they were nonetheless able to offer fresh insights on holiness in their respective settings. In addition, it will be demonstrated that a common historical element exists in the tradition of our key figures which stems from the influence of The Imitation o/Christ. It will be illustrated how the traditions of holiness described in this famous devotional by Thomas aKempis were, directly or indirectly, influential in the lives of these individuals. Consequently, one will be able to observe that the two greatest revival movements o fthe twentieth century share a familiar connection as regards holiness; namely, the writings of a fifteenth-century Roman Catholic monk. The influence of Thomas aKempis in combination with the cultural influences of Therese of Lisieux's and William J. Seymour's respective settings brings new insight to this vital subject.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available