The position of Matthew Arnold in the religious dilemma of his time
Kenosian, Charles Kenneth
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The present essay on the position of Matthew Arnold in the religious dilemma of his time elucidates Arnold's literary and social criticism through an examination of certain antecedent and contemporary theological influences and an evaluation of Arnold's mediating role in terms of the relations of conduct to the larger concept of Culture. In Arnold's religious criticism Culture made explicit the application of literary principles to the interpretation of Scripture and the recognition of the social and moral integrity of man based on the Bible as a book of conduct and a history of the idea of righteousness. Though Arnold's religious criticism was immediately inspired by his proximity to the controversies of the sixties and seventies, his growth as a religious controversialist depended ultimately on theological movements of the thirties, including the Oxford Movement. Thomas Arnold's historical researches and his definition of the bases of the liberal church, Bishop Whately's re-interpretation of St Paul according to literary principles, Dr Hampden's inquiry into the language of Scripture and his exposition of Scholastic Theology were influences which, against the background of German biblical criticism, helped to shape Arnold's attitudes in Literature and Dogma, in which Arnold related religion to the contemporary world by tracing changes in religious thought through a developing biblical literature. Since to Arnold the Bible was more than a "progressive revelation" of the idea of righteousness, Literature and Dogma placed a practical emphasis not only on the outstanding antecedent developments in English theology but also on the ethical sources of religious thought. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D)--Boston University
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