1st Edition

Nineteenth-Century Religion, Literature and Society Disbelief and New Beliefs

Edited By Naomi Hetherington, Clare Stainthorp Copyright 2021

    This four-volume historical resource provides new opportunities for investigating the relationship between religion, literature and society in Britain and its imperial territories by making accessible a diverse selection of harder-to-find primary sources. These include religious fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, sermons, travel writing, religious ephemera, unpublished notebooks and pamphlet literature. Spanning the long nineteenth century (c.1789–1914), the resource departs from older models of ‘the Victorian crisis of faith’ in order to open up new ways of conceptualising religion. Volume four on ‘Disbelief and New Beliefs’ explores the transformation of the religious landscape of Britain and its imperial territories during the nineteenth century as a result of key cultural and intellectual forces.

    Volume 4: Disbelief and New Beliefs

    Eds. Naomi Hetherington & Clare Stainthorp



    Part 1. Biblical Criticism

    1.1 Hebrew Bible Criticism

    1. ‘General Remarks on Mythology and Legendary History’ and ‘Account of Noah and the Flood’, in James Heywood (ed.), Introduction to the Book of Genesis with a Commentary on the Opening Portion, from the German of Dr Peter von Bohlen (London: John Chapman, 1855), vol. 1, pp. 1–8; vol. 2, pp. 107–21.

    2. Claude Goldsmid Montefiore, ‘Preface’ and ‘Traditions of the Past: Visions of the Future’, in The Bible for Home Reading With Comments and Reflections for the Use of Jewish Parents and Children (London: Macmillan, 1896), vol. 1, pp. i–viii, 573–83.

    1.2 Lives of Jesus

    3. Thomas Scott, extract from ‘The Birth and Early Years of Jesus’, in The English Life of Jesus, new edition (London: Thomas Scott, 1872), pp. 31–7.

    4. [Edwin Abbott], Philochristus: Memoirs of a Disciple of the Lord (London: Macmillan, 1878), pp. vii–viii, 239–48, 437.

    1.3 Egyptology

    5. Samuel Sharpe, Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity with Their Influence On The Opinions of Modern Christendom (London: John Russell Smith 1863), pp. vii–x, 10–15, 49–52

    6. Harriet Martineau, Eastern Life Past and Present (London: Edward Moxon, 1848), vol. 1, pp. 242–9; vol 3, pp. 69–74.

    Part 2. Scientific Approaches

    2.1 Secularisation of wonder

    7. Robert Lewins, ’14th November, 1878’ and ‘17th December, 1878’, in Humanism versus Theism; or Solipsism (Egoism) = Atheism. In a series of letters by Robert Lewins M.D. (London: Freethought Publishing Company, 1887), pp. 12–15.

    8. Constance Naden, ‘Entry 117’, in Untitled Notebook [1878–79], Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, USS 115, pp. 46–8.

    9. Constance Naden, ‘Starlight. I’ and ‘Starlight. II’, in Songs and Sonnets of Springtime (London: C. Kegan Paul, 1881), pp. 142–3.

    10. Constance C. W. Naden, extract from ‘The Brain Theory of Mind and Matter’, Journal of Science, March 1883, pp. 121-9.

    2.2 The Roots of Faith

    11. Edward Clodd, ‘Evolution of Theology’, in The Story of Creation: A Plain Account of Evolution (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1891), pp. 224–8.

    12. Francis Galton, ‘Enthusiasm’, in Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Developments (London: Macmillan, 1883), pp. 294–8.

    13. James Sully, ‘A Girl’s Religion’, Longman's Magazine, May 1890, pp. 89–99.

    2.3 Changing Minds

    14. Richard Carlile, extract from An Address to Men of Science (London: R. Carlile, 1821), pp. 6–9, 30–5.

    15. William Winwood Reade, ‘Letter V, VI and XIV’, in The Outcast (London: Chatto and Windus, 1875), pp. 83–6, 100–5, 254–62.

    16. John W. Overton, extract from ‘The Poor Man’s Preacher’, Saul of Mitre Court; being extracts from the papers of Mr Gadshill (Printed for private circulation, 1879), pp. 197–8.

    Part 3. Esotericism

    3.1 Spiritualism

    17. H. [Anna Mary Howitt], ‘On Spiritual Manifestations’, ‘The Sunshine and Happiness of Spirit Life’, and ‘Sympathy’, in Glimpses of a Brighter Land (London: Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1871), pp. 1–6, 61–3, 168–9.

    18. W. T. Stead, ‘Borderlanders of the Bible: The Prophet Elijah’, Borderland: A Quarterly Review and Index, 1, 2, October 1893, pp. 133–41.

    19. Alfred Russel Wallace, ‘The "Journal of Science" on Spiritualism’, Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult, and Mystical Research, 5, 11 July 1885, pp. 327–8.

    20. Frederick F. Cook, ‘The Harmony of Spiritualism and Science: A Rejoinder to Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace, LL.D.’, Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult, and Mystical Research, 5, 18 July 1885, pp. 339–41.

    3.2 Theosophy

    21. H. P. Blavatsky, ‘The Fundamental Teaching of Theosophy’, in The Key to Theosophy: Being a Clear Exposition, in the Form of Question and Answer, of the Ethics, Science, and Philosophy For The Study of Which The Theosophical Society Has Been Founded (London: Theosophical Publishing Company, 1889), pp. 61–82.

    22. Libra [Susan E. Gay], ‘Womanhood from the Theosophical Point of View’, Parts 1 and 2, Shafts, 1, 9, December 1891, pp. 131–2; 1, 10, January 1892, pp. 152–3.

    23. Mohini Chatterji, ‘On the Higher Aspect of Theosophic Studies’, Theosophist, 66, March 1885, pp. 140–4.

    3.3 Esoteric Christianity

    24. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, extract from Lecture 7 ‘The Fall’, in The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ (London: Hamilton Adams, 1882), pp. 191–7.

    25. Alice Oliphant and Laurence Oliphant, extract from Sympneumata, or Evolutionary Forces Now Active in Man (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1885), pp. 4–8, 20–30.

    26. Marie Corelli [Mary Mackay], ‘The Electric Creed’’, in The Romance of Two Worlds (London: Bentley, 1886), vol. 2, pp. 121–47.

    3.4 New Thought

    27. Henrietta Frances Lord, extract from Christian Science Healing: Its Principles and Practice (London: George Redway, 1888), pp. 1–3, 375–6.

    28. Frances Hodgson Burnett, extract from The Dawn of a To-morrow (London: F. Warne, 1907), pp. 98–111.

    Part 4. Comparative and Universal Religion

    4.1 Anagārika Dharmapāla and Modern Buddhism

    29. T.W. Rhys Davids, ‘What Has Buddhism Derived from Christianity?’ [1877], Journal of the Pāli Text Society (1923), pp. 37–53.

    30. Anagārika Dharmapāla, ‘Points of Resemblance and Difference Between Christianity and Buddhism’, in John Henry Barrows (ed.), The World’s Parliament of Religions, 2 vols (Chicago: Parliament Publishing, 1893), vol. 2, pp. 1288–90.

    4.2 Keshub Chunder Sen and the New Dispensation

    31. Sophia Dobson Collet, Indian Theism and Its Relation to Christianity (London: Strahan, 1870).

    32. Keshub Chunder Sen, We the Apostles of the New Dispensation (Calcutta: Brahmo Tract Society, 1881).

    4.3 Oswald Simon and the Universal Jewish Theistic Church

    33. Oswald John Simon, ‘The Mission of Judaism’, Fortnightly Review, 66 (1896), pp. 577–89.

    34. H. Adler, Sylvie d'Avigdor, C[laude] G[oldsmid] Montefiore, James Martineau, Anna Swanwick and Charles Voysey, responses to ‘The Mission of Judaism’, Jewish Quarterly Review, 9 (1897), pp. 184–9, 197-9, 211, 217-19.

    Part 5. Freethought

    5.1 New Theistic Directions

    35. Anon., Deism and Christianity Contrasted (London: M. A. Carlisle, c. 1820).

    36. Sara S. Hennell, extract from Present Religion: As a Faith Owning Fellowship with Thought (London: Trübner & Co., 1865), pp. 8–14, 18–9.

    37. F. H. J., extract from Spiritual Pantheism (Ramsgate: Thomas Scott, 1872), pp. 17–22, 24–6.

    5.2 Owenism

    38. Anon., ‘The Religion of the Millennium’, The New Moral World, or Millennium, 57, 28 November 1835, p. 33.

    39. Emma Martin, extract from Religion Superseded, or the Moral Code of Nature Sufficient for the Guidance of Man (London: Watson, c. 1844), pp. 3–5, 14–16.

    40. Thomas Frost, extract from Forty Years’ Recollections: Literary and Political (London: S. Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1880), pp. 13–15, 20–5.

    5.3 Agnosticism

    41. T. H. Huxley, G. M. McC[rie], Saladin [William Stewart Ross], P. A. Taylor, Charles Watts, F. W. Newman, Ignotus [Albert Simmons], W. B. McTaggart, Ernst Haeckel, W. Sadler (Baldr) and J. Beal, 'Agnosticism: A Symposium', Agnostic Annual (1884), pp. 4–20.

    5.4 Atheism

    42. Harriet Law, ‘A Few Words to Freethinkers’, Secular Chronicle, 5, 2 January 1876, pp. 1–2.

    43. Saladin [W. Stewart Ross], God and His Book (London: W. Stewart & Co., 1887), pp. 2–9.

    44. Daniel Chatterton, ‘Where are you going to when you die?’, Chatterton’s Commune; the Atheistic Communistic Scorcher, 29 (1892).

    5.5 Secular Gatherings

    45. Alexander J. Ellis, extract from Speculation: A Discourse, preceded by Absolute Relativity: A Meditation, delivered at South Place Chapel, Sunday, 16th January, 1876. With the Readings and the Author’s Hymn used on that Occasion (n.p.), pp. 13–15, 39–43.

    46. Edward Beesly, ‘The Worship of the Dead. Address Delivered at Newton Hall on the Day of all the Dead, 31 December, 1890’, supplement to The Positivist Review, July 1893, pp. 133–41.

    47. Phi Delta, ‘Secular Organisation’, The Secular Review, 4 November 1882, p. 295.



    Naomi Hetherington is University Tutor in the Department for Lifelong Learning at the University of Sheffield, UK.

    Clare Stainthorp has a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London, UK.