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Products>Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday

Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday

, 2001
ISBN: 9780802847027

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For much of Christian history the church has given no place to Holy Saturday in its liturgy or worship. Yet the space dividing Calvary and the Garden may be the best place from which to reflect on the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection. This superb work by the late Alan Lewis develops on a grand scale and in great detail a theology of Holy Saturday.

The first comprehensive theology of Holy Saturday ever written, Between Cross and Resurrection shows that at the center of the biblical story and the church’s creed lies a three-day narrative. Lewis explores the meaning of Holy Saturday—the restless day of burial and waiting—from the perspectives of narrative (hearing the story), doctrine (thinking the story), and ethics (living the story). Along the way he visits as many spiritual themes as possible in order to demonstrate the range of topics that take on fresh meaning when viewed from the vantage point of Holy Saturday.

Between Cross and Resurrection is not only incisive and elegantly written, but it is also a uniquely moving work deeply rooted in Christian experience. While writing this book Lewis experienced his own Holy Saturday in suffering from and finally succumbing to cancer. He considered Between Cross and Resurrection to be the culmination of his life's work.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Provides a narrative, dogmatic, and ethical approach to the theology of Easter Saturday
  • Explores the theology of the cross
  • Analyzes the connection between Good Friday and Easter


Part One: Hearing the Story

  • The Easter Saturday Story
  • On the Boundary between Yesterday and Tomorrow
  • God in the Grave?
  • The Word Incarnate and Interred

Part Two: Thinking the Story

  • God’s Union with the Buried One: Doctrine Safeguards Story
  • God’s Election of the Grave: Story in Reform of Doctrine
  • From God’s Passion to God’s Death

Part Three: Living the Story

  • Living the Story in World History
  • Living the Story in Contemporary Society
  • Living the Story in Personal Life

Top Highlights

“We might discover that the second day, which serves both to keep the first and the third days apart in their separate identities and to unite them in their indivisibility, offers a useful stance from which to make one more effort at a properly multivocal, stereophonic hearing of the gospel story.” (Pages 33–34)

“Easter dawn therefore bequeaths to us the sharpest of retrospective questions, leaving us to wonder what kind of life it is that comes to birth among the dead, and what kind of death could yield up its defeated victim to victorious life.” (Page 76)

“In any case, the Good Friday scene, when observed from the first Easter Saturday, is intrinsically unbearable” (Page 43)

“bears a reliable correspondence, a far-from-total but still real similarity to the Creator’s own nature” (Page 19)

“On the contrary, the break is significant and occupied—an active interval in which something happens: ‘he descended into hell.’” (Page 37)

Praise for the Print Edition

In this major study Alan Lewis offers a profound meditation on ‘Holy Saturday,’ the day between Good Friday and Easter when Christ lay dead and buried in the tomb and his followers experienced the absence and silence of God. Lewis challenges all triumphalist distortions of the biblical message and summons the church to hear anew, ponder well, and live out the story of the Son of God’s passage to victory through suffering, abyss, death, and burial. This exploration of the ‘Holy Saturday’ theme in its theological, ethical, liturgical, and personal dimensions has few if any peers.

—Daniel L. Migliore

This is the most remarkable and moving book I have ever read. Every page was written by a dying, saintly theologian who stood in the very presence of God, before whom readers too will find themselves hushed in continuous prayer and deep meditation. As we turn over each page, we are led by the late Alan Lewis on a profound and moving theological pilgrimage from the foot of the cross to the garden tomb and through the darkness of Holy Saturday to the wonderful light of Easter morning. This is a superb book of rich dogmatic and liturgical theology that will bring readers to their knees and lift them up again into the audible presence of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus and the communion of the Holy Trinity. . . Between Cross and Resurrection is a book every theological student and every minister of the gospel should study, use, and cherish

—Thomas F. Torrance

Lewis’s theology of Holy Saturday is a theology of the cross, a challenge to any version of Easter faith that would ignore the awful silence of God as encountered in the cancer ward, or at the bedside of a dying child, or in the killing fields and extermination camps. . . In this masterful book . . . he speaks with elegance, honesty, and passion about the heart of the faith.

The Christian Century

Product Details

  • Title: Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday
  • Author: Alan E. Lewis
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 491
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Theology

Alan E. Lewis (1944–1994) was professor of constructive and modern theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas. While writing this book he experienced his own Holy Saturday in suffering from and finally succumbing to cancer. He considered Between Cross and Resurrection to be the culmination of his life’s work.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


3 ratings

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  1. Ian Carmichael
    Brilliant. Astonishingly well-written. The opening chapter alone is a superb exposition about letting the text address us.
  2. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    I was keen to get into this book as I was curious to see where the author would take a book on “Easter Saturday”, let along develop a theology from it. The book is divided into 3 parts - and in many ways I would have liked Part 1 as a devotional book by itself. In fact, I do hope to read Part 1 again at a future date for its devotional aspects. However, I found that whilst I realise the author is developing a theology, we end up in the dark for too long. I did appreciate the good coverage that the author did of Luther, Calvin, Augustine, Barth, Moltmann and Jungel. As a Lutheran pastor I appreciated the emphasis on the theology of the cross. But I would argue that Scripture spends much more time on the Crucifixion and on the Resurrection then it does on the time in tomb - important though this is.
  3. winnie wong

    winnie wong



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