Crisis of Doubt
Honest Faith in Nineteenth-Century England
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 330
Width: 24.5 cm
Height: 22.2 cm
The Victorian crisis of faith has dominated discussions of religion and the Victorians. Stories are frequently told of prominent Victorians such as George Eliot losing their faith. This crisis is presented as demonstrating the intellectual weakness of Christianity as it was assaulted by new lines of thought such as Darwinism and biblical criticism. This study serves as a corrective to that narrative. It focuses on freethinking and Secularist leaders who came to faith. As sceptics, they had imbibed all the latest ideas that seemed to undermine faith; nevertheless, they went on to experience a crisis of doubt, and then to defend in their writings and lectures the intellectual cogency of Christianity. The Victorian crisis of doubt was surprisingly large. Telling this story serves to restore its true proportion and to reveal the intellectual strength of faith in the nineteenth century.
Larsen gives us valuable and interesting accounts...A valuable book. * David Nash, English Historical Review * Tim Larsen has a keen eye for a good topic, and in Crisis of Doubt he has found his best yet...his text so closely mimicks the organisation of studies asserting the wider significance of plebeian doubt, there is a pleasing echo of the similarly robust publications produced by the protagonists on both sides of the debate between plebeian doubters and reconverts that Larsen has sympathetically and even-handedly reconstructed from his sources. * Arthur Burns, Journal of Ecclesiastical History * well-written and gently provocative book...this book is an excellent and challenging addition to the literature on nineteenth-century religious thought and should lead on to further study...It is also refreshing to read a book which is so well writtin that it is very hard to put down. * Mark D. Chapman, Journal of Theological Studies * insightful, well-research book. * Thomas Albert Howard, Journal of the American Association of Religion * A book which is so well written that it is very hard to put down. * Journal of Theological Studies * Tim Larsen has a keen eye for a good topic, and in...Crisis of Doubt...he has found his best yet. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History * This standard scholarly account has become so entrenched that it is rarely even questioned. Timothy Larsen challenges this common story, and does so brilliantly in Crisis of Doubt...[it] is a very welcome and timely study of how powerful many of those commonplace historical narratives can become - and of how important it is that we keep questioning them. * Harold K. Bush, Jr., Touchstone * Timothy Larsen challenges this common story, and does so brilliantly in Crisis of Doubt...Thus does Larsen accomplish here revisionist history at its very best...Scholars on this side of the Atlantic would do well to take Larsen's conclusions and apply then to American intellectual or literary history of the same period. Such research would undoubtedly uncover similar results. risis of Doubt is a very welcome and timely study of how powerful many of thos commonplace historical narratives can become, and of how important it is that we keep questioning them, especially when it appears that their veracity has become institutionalized and largely unquestioned. * Touchstone Magazine * Tim Larsen has indeed refreshed this field of study. He challenges us to refocus our attention and ask: was this an age marked more by crises of faith or crises of doubt? * Tony Cross, Faith and Freedom * Larsen's thesis is intriguing, and supported with a wealth of erudite evidence. * Anthony Kenny, TLS * Larsen's book is a reminder that you cannot measure the culture of an age by reference to a few controversial figures * Jeremy Morris, The Tablet * Larsen's book is a very interesting one. * Chruch Times *