Maitland, the British author of novels (Daughter of Jerusalem, Holt, 1995) as well as a study of women and Christianity (A Map of the New Country, Routledge, 1994), presents a reworking of a series of four lectures she gave to the Stepney Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London. With careful regard for science, feminism, and Christian orthodoxy, Maitland explores divine creativity, salvation through faith, the meaning of being human, and the contributions to theology of art, both visual and narrative. She asserts the vast difference and yet nearness of God, whom we must be careful not to cut down to human size. Many of her sentences are compressed gems of profound import. Recommended for seminary and large public libraries.-Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Coll., Farmville, Va.
Maitland's search for a joyful theology carries her into territory shared by religion and science and should prove of particular interest to lovers of language who delight in spiritual dimensions of mathematical speculation and scientific discovery as well as formal theology. That the book took shape in a Lenten series of lectures to a group of Anglican clergy seems to have heightened Maitland's awareness of the role of amateur as lover, and she shares this to good effect with readers. As she notes, she is flirting with ideas, inviting readers to do the same. A Lenten series may seem a surprising place to undertake a search for a joyful theology, but it works well here. The joy springs out of an embrace of risk that allows Maitland to "begin" with belief in God and dispense with the compulsion to "prove" it. Scientific discoveries, then, become places of encounter with God's activity in the world, occasions for watching the dance and dancing it to learn something of the "nature" of the dancers.