Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

A Passionate Pilgrim: A Biography of Bishop James A. Pike

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

A Passionate Pilgrim: A Biography of Bishop James A. Pike

Article excerpt

A PASSIONATE PILGRIM: A BIOGRAPHY OF BISHOP JAMES A. PIKE. By DAVID M. ROBERTSON. Knopf. 304 pp. $24.95.

Bishop Pike, who died in the Judean wilderness in 1969, is not much remembered today, but he was for years one of the most publicized religious leaders in the country. Pike had been Dean of St. John the Divine in New York and then Bishop of California. His death mooted an item on the agenda of the Episcopal bishops who were at the time meeting on the campus of Notre Dame University: it would not be necessary after all to vote on officially declaring him no longer a bishop. His 1960s books, A Time for Candor and If This Be Heresy, along with his quick one-liners advocating "fewer beliefs, more belief," had made Pike a media favorite. After a while, his role as religious maverick and bad boy began to wear thin. …

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