As with its earlier companion volume Tradition and Imagination, this is a work that has relied heavily on the encouragement, advice and support of colleagues and friends. Jeff Astley, Stephen Barton, Sarah Boss, Thomas Hummel, Michael Ipgrave, Penny Minney, Peter Robinson, Walter Moberly, and Clare Stancliffe read and commented on one or more chapters, while David Fuller and Ann Loades gave detailed attention to the work in its entirety. Both of them did much to widen my horizons. As the narratives of two women, Mary Magdalene and the Mother of Jesus, figure prominently in what follows, I am particularly grateful to Ann for the care she took to try to ensure that, in my eagerness to make the nature of their discipleship equally available to both sexes, I did not discount the importance of feminist issues. As the work was reaching its completion, I was fortunate in being invited to give a week's course of lectures and seminars at the Free University in Amsterdam. I am most grateful for the stimulus provided by Henk Vroom, Aard van Egmond and the students who participated. The following week I spent as a guest of the Redemptorists in Poland. To the outsider the Reformed church in the Netherlands and the Catholic church in Poland can appear to have little in common. It was a particular pleasure therefore to find myself learning from both.
Integral to the discussion that follows is my belief that disciple- ship is made possible only by community. So, while in no way discounting the influence on me of other individuals, not least the example of my mother, Catherine, I must also thank God for my present context, set as I am in the worshipping community of Durham Cathedral. Joint posts are not the current fashion, but personally I regard myself as singularly fortunate in being both a professor in such a university as Durham and a residentiary canon of the city's splendid Romanesque cathedral. What is required of lecture and sermon is of course quite different. Nonetheless, the measurement of one against the other does generate a rich and