A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians

Paperback | November 15, 2012

byTimothy Larsen

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Although the Victorians were awash in texts, the Bible was such a pervasive and dominant presence that they may fittingly be thought of as "a people of one book". They habitually read the Bible, quoted it, adopted its phraseology as their own, thought in its categories, and viewed their ownlives and experiences through a scriptural lens. This astonishingly deep, relentless, and resonant engagement with the Bible was true across the religious spectrum from Catholics to Unitarians and beyond. The scripture-saturated culture of nineteenth-century England is displayed by Timothy Larsen in a series of lively case studies of representative figures ranging from the Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry to the liberal Anglican pioneer of nursing Florence Nightingale to the Baptist preacher C.H. Spurgeon to the Jewish author Grace Aguilar. Even the agnostic man of science T. H. Huxley and the atheist leaders Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant were thoroughly and profoundly preoccupied with the Bible. Serving as a tour of the diversity and variety of nineteenth-century views, Larsen's study presents the distinctive beliefs and practices of all the major Victorian religious and sceptical traditions from Anglo-Catholics to the Salvation Army to Spiritualism, while simultaneously drawing out theircommon, shared culture as a people of one book.

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Although the Victorians were awash in texts, the Bible was such a pervasive and dominant presence that they may fittingly be thought of as "a people of one book". They habitually read the Bible, quoted it, adopted its phraseology as their own, thought in its categories, and viewed their ownlives and experiences through a scriptural len...

Timothy Larsen is McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has been a Visiting Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books including Crisis of Doubt: Honest Faith in Nineteenth-Century England (Oxford Univer...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:November 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199667810

ISBN - 13:9780199667819

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Anglo-Catholics: E. B. Pusey and Holy Scripture2. Roman Catholics: Nicholas Wiseman and Sacred Scripture3. Atheists: Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, and 'this indictable book'4. Methodist and Holiness: Catherine Booth, William Cooke, and the Scriptures5. Liberal Anglicans: Florence Nightingale and the Bible6. Unitarians: Mary Carpenter and the Sacred Writings7. Quakers: Elizabeth Fry and 'Reading'8. Agnostics: T. H.Huxley and Bibliolatry9. Evangelical Anglicans: Josephine Butler and the Word of God10. Orthodox Old Dissent: C. H. Spurgeon and 'the Book'Conclusion: Spiritualism, Judaism, and the Brethren - A People of One Book

Editorial Reviews

"A People of One Book is far-ranging. Larsen has chapters on what a vital role the Bible played among Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, Methodists, Quakers, Unitarians, Dissenters, Agnostics, even Atheists. And what is more impressive, he manages to show each of these differenttraditions true critical sympathy." Weekly Standard 30/04/12