Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Incomplete Timeline of Spiritual Events in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England and Environs

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.


Melanie B said...

very helpful. Thank you.

Emily J. said...

Another thanks to Pentimento - an interesting mix of important dates! This summer I read Bill Bryson's A Short History of the World, and the chapter on all the scientific discoveries and advances of the 19th c was fascinating. He doesn't make the argument that the shifts in worldview of that time were more dramatic than the rapid technological advances of our own, but he could.
Still waiting for my copy of the book. Like Melanie, I started to read Apologia online, but couldn't focus. I need something more interactive - pages to bend, lines to mark - that can come to bed with me.
So while I'm waiting, I'm imbibing revisionist Victorian historical fiction: Matthew Pearl's The Last Dickens. Fun, but not as much as The Dante Club.

Pentimento said...

There's a Victorian historical novel I want to read -- I think it's called The Wet Nurse's Tale. I had it ILL'ed from one of the libraries in our system, but they only give you five days to pick it up, and I didn't make it there in time.

Newman is tough going for me too. My father has told me that Apologis is the best spiritual autobiography ever, so I'm assuming the pace picks up a little later on . . .

My dissertation is in Victorian studies (music iconography in British painting), which is why I had those factoids at my fingertips.

Otepoti said...

What about adding Hume's "On Miracles"? Influential for good and ill on many Victorians.

Thanks for putting together what I only thought about, Pentimento.

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