Nineteenth century clergymen and issues of faith, doubt and death: A literary review

Allison, Irene Mary (2002) Nineteenth century clergymen and issues of faith, doubt and death: A literary review. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis attempts to evaluate the role of the Victorian clergyman, mainly of the Church of England, with reference to issues of faith and doubt in the context of Christian death. Chapter 1 indicates the problematic element inherent in the certainty of the hope of the Resurrection and goes on to trace the development of the Christian perception of death. It leads up to the expression of nineteenth century views influenced by the theology of the seventeenth century cleric Jeremy Taylor representing the Caroline divines. Chapter 2 deals briefly with Anthony Trollope's criticism of the church as an institution and takes examples of situational ethics from the Barsetshire Novels. It goes on to concentrate on the role of Septimus Harding who represents the tradition of the good pastor and also exemplifies 'holy dying' according to the model of the ars moriendi proposed by Jeremy Taylor. Chapter 3 portrays, in sharp contrast, the death of the outsider in four of Thomas Hardy's novels. It focuses on the inadequate response of the institutional church to the pastoral and emotional needs of those who have placed themselves outside the perceived normal bounds of the Christian community. At the same time biblical language and Christian liturgy remain significant but are adapted to fit a changing situation. Chapter 4 introduces some of George Eliot's representatives of the clergy. These include examples of the 'gentleman' cleric, of some very imperfect specimens of humanity on whose behalf she invokes the reader's sympathetic understanding, of the martyr figure and of those who serve their community with unpretentious diligence. This chapter also discusses Eliot's conception of the nature of the immortality to which her characters aspire. Chapter 5 draws together and compares some of the complex issues and conclusions from the three writers and attempts to relate them to the ongoing historical role of the contemporary clergy and their successors.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Religious history, Clergy
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-73233
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73233

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