Thomas Hardy and the Church by Jan Jȩdrzejewski (auth.)

By Jan Jȩdrzejewski (auth.)

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Just as dogmatic about agnostic unbelief as he would have been about belief'62 and to whom 'religious orthodoxy was something as horrifying as its agnostic opposite would have been to a conventional Christian'. 63 It was exactly this sense of agnostic fundamentalism that would occasionally, for instance in his contacts with Florence Henniker, prompt Hardy to attempt the role of a missionary of agnosticism: I had a regret... at thinking that one who is pre-eminently the child of the Shelleyan tradition - whom one would have expected to be an ardent disciple of his school and views - should have allowed herself to be enfeebled to a belief in ritualistic ecclesiasticism Is this the daughter of the man who went from Cambridge to Oxford Hardy's Religious Biography 31 on the now historic errand!

Hardy's reading of the book is documented, in his typical manner, by notes quoting a number of passages that he found particularly important or memorable, for instance 'Christianity seems to me something small and local. Behind it, around it, including it, I see the great drama of the world sweeping on, led by God' 59 or 'Truth has never been, can never be, contained in any one creed or system' 60 . 61 This is clearly the voice of Hardy the convinced agnostic, the man whom 'his childhood religion, which he had abandoned with such pain in his middle twenties, had left...

61 This is clearly the voice of Hardy the convinced agnostic, the man whom 'his childhood religion, which he had abandoned with such pain in his middle twenties, had left... just as dogmatic about agnostic unbelief as he would have been about belief'62 and to whom 'religious orthodoxy was something as horrifying as its agnostic opposite would have been to a conventional Christian'. 63 It was exactly this sense of agnostic fundamentalism that would occasionally, for instance in his contacts with Florence Henniker, prompt Hardy to attempt the role of a missionary of agnosticism: I had a regret...

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