Thursday, 30 April 2009

On to Other Things

Meanwhile I'm having fun preparing for the next In Depth group, on to a new section of Anglican controversies. Everyone knows about John Robinson's Honest to God (1962) and even events around David Jenkins in and around 1984. But when did these start in a similarly identifiable way? The answer is, I suggest, Essays and Reviews (1860) and can add Lux Mundi (1902) of the period of those broad and open mainly German theologians before pessimism and a closed Christology set in amongst the next generation of major theologians. The Church of England was, and remains, a theological backwater regarding these theologians, but even backwaters have their own water flows.

I've downloaded (faulty OCR) texts online and now received actual book versions, the latter readable at moments of leisure and the necessaries. All I can say is, weren't the Victorians literate and verbose? They wrote well and usually by hand, and had great discipline and precision on to the page (when, for us, typing imposes its own discipline and style, and word processing has allowed correction and compression). I know that when I write by hand, I soon realise something has been missed that should have been inserted earlier, and my hand writing is windy and imprecise. In sixth form and university teachers said they knew what I was trying to write but I didn't write it. When I did the doctorate that had to be better, and I went over and over it with my Amstrad PCW 8256.

Blogging here is usually in two takes or one takes, so it has more flow than a presentation or essay, but typing is still a discipline (plus I remain somewhat trained). Still these Victorians are impressive; however, the Latin (and Classics) background as well as the longhand creates a kind of writing that is both accurate and long winded, and my contemporary training in reading like an arrow going into selected bits, doesn't help my comprehension. I sit and read a chunk and wonder what that was all about, and, really, I'm looking all the time for the parts which created the controversy. So far Benjamin Jowett seems to be the bad boy of Essays and Reviews, and as for Lux Mundi I can't make head or tail of more than the prefaces. It must have been a very sensitive and nervous time for Christianity in the late Victorian period - that's all that I can think. Still, come the day I will have my presentation ready.

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