Victorian Reformation: The Fight over Idolatry in the Church of England, 1840-1860

By Dominic Janes | Go to book overview

5
Gothic Novelties

In chapter 4, I distinguished a range of approaches to comparative religion, the extremes of which can be represented by two books that I have already quoted. The first is by the anonymous ‘E. I. O.’, The Scarlet Book; Showing the Connection of the Roman Catholic Ceremonies with the Pagan Rites. With an Account of the Bishops, Patriarchs, and Popes of Rome, from A.D. 60. Also an Explanation of the Revelation of St. John the Divine, as It Applies to Modern Events (1852) (figure 5.1). This represents the use of cultural comparisons as a stick with which to beat anything other than the certain brands of Protestantism. In the group of writings of which this is an example, the truth is found in Holy Scripture. The world, in comparison, presents a catalogue of error. ‘E. I. O.’ is locked into Biblical time, such that he actively interrogates the Apocalypse in order to understand current events. From this perspective, narratives of human progress are overshadowed by the looming of God’s judgement.

The opposite extreme may be represented by Thomas Inman, Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism Exposed and Explained (1870, 2nd edition 1875) (figure 5.2). From 1861, Inman was a member of the Royal College of physicians in London, physician of the Royal Infirmary in Liverpool, and president of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society. He had interests ranging from phallic cults to spontaneous combustion.1 He argued that the people should be the judge of whom they want to believe. He himself had had to reject the views of the ‘most sensible’ clergyman he had ever known

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Victorian Reformation: The Fight over Idolatry in the Church of England, 1840-1860
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Illustrations xi
  • 1 - Introduction- Victorian Reformation 3
  • 2 - Art and Sacrament 25
  • 3 - Riots and Trials in London, 1840–60 51
  • 4 - Satan Transformed- Comparative Religion 93
  • 5 - Gothic Novelties 135
  • Conclusion- the Convenient Despot 163
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 235
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