676pp. Contents Crisp, clean and tightly bound. Small stain to block.
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A chance viewing by Mark Byford of a picture in London's National Gallery has inspired The Annunciation: A Pilgrim's Quest. The early-eighteenth-century painting by French artist, Francis Lemoyne, shows the encounter between the angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. That meeting may be a pivotal point in Christianity, but has the status and significance of the Annunciation been lost in today's world? Mark Byford searches for the spiritual meaning of the biblical story through intimate conversations with more than a hundred clerics, theologians, historians and artists. Alongside those conversations he traces the history of the annunciation story in Christianity, from the early Church, through to the medieval cult of Mary and then the Reformation, to the age of the Enlightenment and on to the present post-modern world. People speak as never before about the personal and profound impact the annunciation story has had on their lives. It is a monumental project of scale, ambition and innovation, highly distinctive in its originality of approach and content.
Mark Byford was born in Castleford, West Yorkshire in 1958. He has lived in Winchester for more than thirty years. He was the BBC Deputy Director General and Head of BBC Journalism from 2004 to 2011. Previously, he was the Director of the BBC World Service from 1998 to 2004. An award-winning journalist and editor, he worked at the BBC for thirty-two years. His first book, A Name On A Wall, was published by Mainstream in 2013. As a child, the annunciation story had a special resonance for the author. Now fifty years on, as a middle-aged adult, he has travelled around England, across the Continent and to the Holy Land to learn more about what one bishop describes as 'the most important event in human history'. Finally, The Annunciation: A Pilgrim's Quest reveals how Mark Byford's three-year search has impacted his own current beliefs and understanding.