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Religion and Irreligion in Victorian Society Paperback – 28 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reprint edition (28 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415867738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415867733
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,080,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This is a collection of essays written in honour of R K Webb who never lost sight of the importance of the history of religion in Victorian society from a purely historical viewpoint. Webb was attracted to the subject by his interest in Benthamism and the unusual prominence of Unitarians who adhered to utilitarianism.

Webb's admirers have a produced eleven essays which emphasise the role and importance of religion in its many forms in Victorian society, whether it was about issues of political reform, cultural pluralism or a re-evaluation existing beliefs, including the emergence of spiritualism which attracted public figures such as Alfred Russel Wallace, John Ruskin and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Victorian society represented the age of proselytism when men and women who were persuaded they knew the truth were optimistic they could educate the masses into enlightenment. Popular irreligion and radicalism went hand in hand.

This is demonstrated by I D McCalman's study of the Anglican apostate Robert Taylor, who joined the better known self confessed infidel Richard Carlile in preaching "useful knowledge" in opposition to Christianity. Unfortunately, Taylor started to believe his own myths and became unbelievable even before he was jailed for blasphemy in 1831 where he bemoaned his lack of opportunities for sex and alcohol.

Sandra Herbert's essay "Between Genesis and geology", retraces the intellectual debates which took place in the 1820's and 1830's. Geologists wanted to separate Genesis from geology (particularly in relation to the Flood) but were reliant on a reading of Genesis which brought with it questions of interpretation they wished to exclude from their studies.
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