English Thought, 1860-1900: The Theological Aspect

English Thought, 1860-1900: The Theological Aspect

English Thought, 1860-1900: The Theological Aspect

English Thought, 1860-1900: The Theological Aspect

Excerpt

When I was appointed to deliver the Burroughs Memorial Lectures at Leeds University in 1950 the subject given to me was 'The Development of English Theology in the Later Nineteenth Century', the aim of the course being to provide a sequel to Storr's well-known volume which stopped short at 1860--the author's intention of continuing it never having been carried out. After the publication of the lectures several reviewers expressed regret that the subject had had to be treated within the narrow compass of six lectures; the publishers thereupon asked me to undertake a full-length continuation. The present volume, which incorporates some of the original matter, is the result.

The book, it will be observed, bears a title other than that of its predecessor. The reasons for the change were compelling, if a truly accurate description of its scope and contents was to be attained; for I found that, more or less unconsciously, wider sympathies were flooding into my mind. Here two principles stood out: the close and inevitable connexion between theology and religion, and the extent to which both theology and religion were influenced by, and, in turn, exercised influence upon the entire current of life and thought; for though thinkers, or some of them, might repudiate such conceptions, none the less they were unable to avoid their attraction.

Behind the volume lies the greater part of a lifetime of thought and study; often combined with, though never intermitted by, practical activities (I have had charge of three large parishes, including West Ham) and the problems with which it endeavours to cope I have, in a more developed form, myself experienced and sought to face. And so I ask: 'How far can the new order which is emerging, the various clashes in the complex range of ideas, be reduced to a comprehensive harmony of scheme and . . .

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