It's no exaggeration to say that England was in the throes of a religious crisis in the 1850s. Here's a brief timeline, just to suggest the social context for Apologia:
1830-33: Geologist Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology shows that the earth is much older than previously thought.
1833: Newman, Keble, and Pusey begin publishing "Tracts for the Times," a series of pamphlets advocating the return of ritualism and sacramentalism to the Anglican church.
1835: German theologian David Friedrich Strauss publishes Das Leben Jesu, a revisionist work about "the historical Jesus," which scandalizes Europe, and is translated as Life of Jesus in 1846 by avowed atheist George Eliot.
1840s: Under the direction of Pusey and Newman (not yet a Catholic), Anglican religious communities make their first appearance in Britain since the sixteenth century.
1845: Newman's conversion.
1850: Pope Pius IX restores the Catholic hierarchy, which had been dismantled in the reign of Elizabeth, to Great Britain, an act popularly decried as "Papal Aggression." In response, the newly-created Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman of Westminster is burned in effigy, and hostile crowds stone Catholic churches and hold "No Popery" demonstrations. Parliament passes the Ecclesiastical Titles act, which imposes a fine on any non-Anglican bishop who took a territorial title.
1854: Pope Pius IX promulgates the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
1858: Apparitions at Lourdes.
1859: Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.
1864: Kingsley's polemic against Newman appears in Macmillan's Magazine.
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