Christian Ideals in British Culture Stories of Belief in the Twentieth Century

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-05-10
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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This book is an important contribution to the history of religion in twentieth century Britain which focuses upon the importance of central religious narratives. These narratives are demonstrated to have changed significantly over time but also to have been invested with importance and meaning by religious individuals and organisations, as well as by secular ones. The book investigates narratives of pilgrimage and the good Samaritan, of conversion, of the idea of the 'just' and 'unjust' war, of the creation of post First World War Remembrance, of sickness and dying and of specific 'moments' and their power to make religion strong again at specific historical junctures. The last narrative investigated is narrative of religious decline itself and how this convinced the Anglican Church in England to seriously consider the prospect of its own demise. The strength and importance of these different emphases does not follow a pattern of religious decline or of secular triumph as these are regularly recast and renewed. As such this offers a qualification to conventional versions of the secularization thesis as well as suggesting a new paradigm for thinking about and writing religious history in Britain.

Author Biography

David Nash is Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He has published on the history of blasphemy, the atheist movement in Britain, the history of shame in the nineteenth century and the history of secularisation. He has also given advice on the issue of blasphemy to a number of NGOS and western governments.

Table of Contents

1. Religious Stories and the Secular World
2. Pilgrims, Seekers, Samaritans and Saviours
3. Saved and Transfigured Selves
4. 'Just' and 'unjust' Wars
5. Collective Loss and Collective Remembrance
6. Sickness, Pain and Dying
7. Moments and Reactions
8. Anglican Decline Stories

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