Alan Spence - Author

About the Author

Alan Spence is an award-winning poet and playwright, novelist and short story writer. His awards include the McVitie Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. He is based in Edinburgh where he and his wife run the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen, where he is also Artistic Director of the annual WORD Festival.

 

Author photograph © Calum Colvin

Featured books by Alan Spence

Other books by Alan Spence

Its Colours They Are Fine

Its Colours They Are Fine

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2018

A classic of short fiction, Alan Spence's celebrated debut collection, first published in 1977, brings Glasgow to vibrant life and captures the spirit of the city as it teetered on the brink of change. From childhood Christmases in small tenement flats and games played on scrubland, to Orange Walks on bright Saturday afternoons and Thursday nights in dark, pulsing dancehalls, these interlinked stories vividly evoke the city and its inhabitants - young and old, Catholic and Protestant, hopeful and disillusioned.

Night Boat

Night Boat

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2014

On the side of a mountain, in eighteenth century Japan, sits a man in perfect stillness as the summit erupts, spitting fire and molten rock onto the land around him. The man is Hakuin. He will become the world's most famous teacher of zen. This is not the first time he has seen hell. Hakuin's quest for truth will call on him to defy his father, to face death, to find love and to lose it. He will ask, what is the sound of one hand clapping? And he will master his greatest fear. Night Boat is the story of his astonishing life.

Just Trying to Make Sense of It All

Just Trying to Make Sense of It All

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/03/2012

Justification A Guide for the Perplexed

Justification A Guide for the Perplexed

Author: Alan Spence Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/01/2012

This title provides an upper-level introduction to the doctrine of justification which triggered the Reformation and is still high up on the agenda in Ecumenical dialogue. The core of the book is an historical survey of the doctrine of justification as it has developed within the Western church - a somewhat simplified version of McGrath's Justitia Dei, but with a more outspoken assessment of the various moves that are taken at various stages in the discussion. Attention will is paid to the context or prevailing world view in which such a doctrine is deemed significant. Although the focus is on a number of principal theologians there are some reference to their peers or followers. Only at the end the Pauline texts are examined. The conclusion considers what part a doctrine of justification can have within a modern worldview in which the concept of divine judgement has generally been marginalised. Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.

Justification A Guide for the Perplexed

Justification A Guide for the Perplexed

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/01/2012

This title provides an upper-level introduction to the doctrine of justification which triggered the Reformation and is still high up on the agenda in Ecumenical dialogue. The core of the book is an historical survey of the doctrine of justification as it has developed within the Western church - a somewhat simplified version of McGrath's Justitia Dei, but with a more outspoken assessment of the various moves that are taken at various stages in the discussion. Attention will is paid to the context or prevailing world view in which such a doctrine is deemed significant. Although the focus is on a number of principal theologians there are some reference to their peers or followers. Only at the end the Pauline texts are examined. The conclusion considers what part a doctrine of justification can have within a modern worldview in which the concept of divine judgement has generally been marginalised. Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.

Silver An Aberdeen Anthology

Silver An Aberdeen Anthology

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/05/2009

This book of poems about Aberdeen includes work by Edwin Morgan, Iain Crichton Smith, Thomas Hardy, Lord Byron, Stuart Conn, Sheena Blackhall, and many other writers old and new. Aberdeen is known as the city of granite, the city of oil, the city of fish, and the city of high house-prices, but Aberdeen has many different faces - some of them charming, and some of them severe. This collection of poems explores the life and culture of the city as seen by poets through the centuries, from Norse and Medieval views of Aberdeen to previously unpublished poems by contemporary writers.

Sailmaker Plus

Sailmaker Plus

Author: Alan Spence, Jane Cooper Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/01/2009

Exam Board: OCR Level: GCSE Subject: English First Teaching: September 2015 First Exam: June 2016 Sailmaker Plus offers the full text of the widely popular drama text, Sailmaker, by award-winning writer Alan Spence - plus an introduction by the author outlining his motives in writing it, and a wide range of background material by Jane Cooper, offering a historical perspective and detailed support for students who wish to write about the play in literary contexts, especially for examination purposes. Althougn suitable for a broad range of students, the play is likely to be particularly suitable for study at Intermediate 1 and 2 levels, or at Standard Grade.

Christology A Guide for the Perplexed

Christology A Guide for the Perplexed

Author: Alan Spence Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/11/2008

Christology is an area hotly debated among New Testament scholars and Theologians. This new Guide for the Perplexed leads the reader through the arguments, debates and definitions to produce a fascinating guide to the subject.Christology, the study of the nature and person of Christ, is a confusing and complex subject for even the most advanced student. Hotly debated from the origins of the early church, the subject caused the first major schism with the Christian church.Today, Christology is of concern to both New Testament scholars and Theologians alike and continues to provoke debate within the Church. In this Guide for the Perplexed , Alan Spence guides the reader through the maze of arguments to give a clear understanding of this subject. After an introduction providing a basic definition of Christology, Spence examines the key debates and defining moments in the early Church and the Reformation. This historical background provides an essential foundation on which to outline later developments in Christology. Later chapters consider the Quest for the Historical Jesus, and the work of the major theologians in this area including Barth and Schleiermacher and from the present day, NT Wright and Pannenberg. Spence concludes by looking at contemporary arguments within the field of Christology.Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.

Christology A Guide for the Perplexed

Christology A Guide for the Perplexed

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/11/2008

Christology is an area hotly debated among New Testament scholars and Theologians. This new Guide for the Perplexed leads the reader through the arguments, debates and definitions to produce a fascinating guide to the subject.Christology, the study of the nature and person of Christ, is a confusing and complex subject for even the most advanced student. Hotly debated from the origins of the early church, the subject caused the first major schism with the Christian church.Today, Christology is of concern to both New Testament scholars and Theologians alike and continues to provoke debate within the Church. In this Guide for the Perplexed , Alan Spence guides the reader through the maze of arguments to give a clear understanding of this subject. After an introduction providing a basic definition of Christology, Spence examines the key debates and defining moments in the early Church and the Reformation. This historical background provides an essential foundation on which to outline later developments in Christology. Later chapters consider the Quest for the Historical Jesus, and the work of the major theologians in this area including Barth and Schleiermacher and from the present day, NT Wright and Pannenberg. Spence concludes by looking at contemporary arguments within the field of Christology.Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.

The Pure Land

The Pure Land

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/06/2007

The year is 1858. Thomas Glover is a gutsy eighteen-year-old who grasps the chance of escape to foreign lands and takes a posting as a trader in Japan. Within ten years he amasses a great fortune, learns the ways of the samurai, and, on the other side of the law, brings about the overthrow of the Shogun. Yet beneath Glover's astonishing success lies a man cut to the heart. His love affair with a courtesan - a woman who, unknown to him, would bear him the son for which he had always longed - would form a tragedy so dramatic as to be immortalised in the stories behind Madame Butterfly and Miss Saigon. The Pure Land relives in fiction the arc of Glover's true-life rise and fall, and forges a hundred-year saga that culminates in the annihilation of Nagasaki in 1945.

Incarnation and Inspiration John Owen and the Coherence of Christology

Incarnation and Inspiration John Owen and the Coherence of Christology

Author: Alan Spence Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2007

Through engagement with the historical debate Incarnation and Inspiration offers a systematic exposition of the person of Jesus that brings together dissonant aspects of the tradition. It serves as an introduction to the theology to John Owen, the most able of the Puritan theologians and provides a way of understanding the theological dynamic underlying the Christology of the Fathers and the Definition of Chalcedon. Through its emphasis on coherence it seeks to illuminate the inner rationality of God's triune being and his mission among us through the Son and Spirit.Incarnation and inspiration are concepts which can be used to characterize two quite different ways of thinking about Christ. Although the history of doctrine suggests they are mutually exclusive, John Owen's theology effectively integrates them in one coherent Christology. The underlying structure of his exposition is that of incarnation, whereby the Son willingly assumed human nature into personal subsistence with himself. But his distinctive idea was that the divine Son acted on his own human nature indirectly and by means of the Holy Spirit.

The Promise of Peace A Unified Theory of Atonement

The Promise of Peace A Unified Theory of Atonement

Author: Alan Spence Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2006

The book offers a defence of a mediatorial interpretation of the atonement, that is one in which Christ is held to have become as we are, so that he might on our behalf make peace with God. It is argued that such an interpretation is not one of a number of valid descriptions of Christ's saving work, but the normative redemptive account. The erosion of this classic view of the atonement can be explained partly by a number of developments that have taken place in theological thought during the past two hundred years. These include the emergence of a Christology in which Christ's divinity is linked to his saving ministry; a new interpretation of Pauline theology in which issues of justification are held to be secondary to those of participation; a return to the more dualistic world-view of the Church Fathers; difficulties with the concept of divine judgement; and a culture of relativism in which a unified or coherent account of the atonement not only no longer seems possible, but is generally not even considered desirable. The book achieves its purpose by engaging critically with these various theological ideas. It is as much a clearing of the undergrowth from the foundations of soteriology as it is the construction of a coherent account of Christ Jesus as the one mediator between God and us. It goes on to consider the relation of such an account to the proclamation of the gospel and the response required of its hearers.

The Promise of Peace A Unified Theory of Atonement

The Promise of Peace A Unified Theory of Atonement

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/10/2006

The book offers a defence of a mediatorial interpretation of the atonement, that is one in which Christ is held to have become as we are, so that he might on our behalf make peace with God. It is argued that such an interpretation is not one of a number of valid descriptions of Christ's saving work, but the normative redemptive account. The erosion of this classic view of the atonement can be explained partly by a number of developments that have taken place in theological thought during the past two hundred years. These include the emergence of a Christology in which Christ's divinity is linked to his saving ministry; a new interpretation of Pauline theology in which issues of justification are held to be secondary to those of participation; a return to the more dualistic world-view of the Church Fathers; difficulties with the concept of divine judgement; and a culture of relativism in which a unified or coherent account of the atonement not only no longer seems possible, but is generally not even considered desirable. The book achieves its purpose by engaging critically with these various theological ideas. It is as much a clearing of the undergrowth from the foundations of soteriology as it is the construction of a coherent account of Christ Jesus as the one mediator between God and us. It goes on to consider the relation of such an account to the proclamation of the gospel and the response required of its hearers.

The 3 Estaites The Millennium Version

The 3 Estaites The Millennium Version

Author: Alan Spence, Angus Calder Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2002

The 3 Estaites is - by common consent - Scotland's greatest play. First performed in Cupar, Fife in June 1552, it is the earliest Scottish play to have survived. Full of broad humour and pantomime-like farce, it also deals with dangerous topical issues, hitting out at corruption and hypocrisy in the ruling establishment, denouncing the oppression of the poor and calling for social reformation . A young king is rescued from idle sexual dalliance and false counsels by Divine Correction and they preside over a Parliament summoned to enact just laws, where basic Christian tenets and values are affirmed - but Folly has the last word. In 2000 The 3 Estaites gained a fresh resonance when it celebrated both the Millennium and the rebirth of Scotland's Parliament by returning to Cupar for the first time in nearly four and a half centuries. This contemporary Scots version by the leading poet and playwright Alan Spence retains the structure and spirit of Lindsay's script while giving his language a new lease of life. The play's topical allusions have been updated brilliantly, but Lindsay's generous spirit and enormous sense of fun have been preserved. This is a national drama, expressing a comprehensive perspective of what Scotland is and what it might be - a land of justice, fellow-feeling and laughter.

Glasgow Zen

Glasgow Zen

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2002

A superb new collection of haiku and other short poetic forms on the theme of Glasgow - its people, landscape, culture. As always, Spence is uniquely illuminating, witty and delightful. Incorporating some of the poems which appeared decades ago in the much sought-after collection of the same title, Glasgow Zen includes mostly new material from this highly popular and exquisite poet.

Seasons Of The Heart

Seasons Of The Heart

Author: Alan Spence Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/08/2000

This is Spence's first book of poetry since Glasgow Zen . In this collection he evokes the essence of the seasons with this cycle of haiku.

Author Info

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http://www.alanspence.co.uk/

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