The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South


Two New Faculty Publications Are Released

Two members of the faculty at The School of Theology have recently published books.

The Rev. Dr. James Turrell has just published Celebrating the Rites of Initiation: A Practical Ceremonial Guide for Clergy and Other Liturgical Ministers, Church Publishing, 2013. As part of the “Celebrating Series,” Celebrating the Rites of Initiation continues the standard of scholarship set by Patrick Malloy’s Celebrating the Eucharist and offers similar aids around issues of baptism and confirmation. It has been called an ideal book for students and practicing clergy who seek to strengthen their knowledge — and parochial practice — of baptismal theology.

The Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain’s newest publication is titled Solved by Sacrifice: Austin Farrer, Fideism, and the Evidence of Faith, Peeters Publishers, 2013. Austin Farrer (1904-1968), Warden of Keble College, Oxford, was a remarkably creative and significant figure in 20th-century theology. MacSwain argues that one explanation for Farrer’s relative obscurity is that most commentators have focused on his metaphysics, and in particular on Finite and Infinite (1943), his monumental treatise of “rational theology.” By contrast, MacSwain proposes an epistemological analysis that takes seriously the neglected but crucial theme of fideism in Farrer’s thought. MacSwain charts the development of Farrer’s thinking on the proper relation between faith and reason from 1924 to 1968 — including his engagements with Karl Barth, logical positivism, Thomism, and Wittgensteinian philosophy — and offers a reading of Farrer that resonates with contemporary religious epistemology and the growing focus on spiritual praxis. The final chapter considers Farrer’s provocative claim that the logical paradoxes of religious belief are “solved by sacrifice” in the lives of those whom we recognize as “saints”: as Farrer puts it, “Such a life, then, is evidence, and what other evidence could you hope to find?”

Both publications are available on