British Literature and Christianity: How Much, and During What Time Periods, Did British Literature Reflect a Christian World View?
English literature has sometimes been stigmatized as insular. It can be argued that no single English novel attains the universality of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace or the French writer Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Yet in the Middle Ages the Old English literature of the subjugated Saxons was leavened by the Latin and Anglo-Norman writings, eminently foreign in origin, in which the churchmen and the Norman conquerors expressed themselves. From this combination emerged a flexible and subtle linguistic instrument exploited by Geoffrey Chaucer and brought to supreme application by William Shakespeare. During the Renaissance the renewed interest in Classical learning and values had an important effect on English literature, as on all the arts; and ideas of Augustan literary propriety in the 18th century and reverence in the 19th century for a less specific, though still selectively viewed, Classical antiquity continued to shape the literature. All three of these impulses derived from a foreign source, namely the Mediterranean basin. The Decadents of the late 19th century and the Modernists of the early 20th looked to continental European individuals and movements for inspiration.
As a matter of fact, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are some of the most prominent classical religions in the contemporary society. According to the latest statistics, there are a total of 2.9 billion Christians in the world today. This is nearly a third of the world’s population. Meaning, it is the only religion with the highest number of followers globally. For Christianity to reach where it is today, it has actually had a very long history. This began at the time of Jesus who initially faced too much opposition from conservative Jewish sects such as the Pharisees. Because of their different world views, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law made it so hard to for Jesus to spread the gospel to His followers. Even after triumphantly defeating death, it was not easier for the early Church apostles to advance Jesus’ teachings and spread the good news to all the corners of the world as He had commanded them. Thus, it means that Christianity has managed to dominate literary texts depicting its mother and sister religions due to the fact that it has had a lot of committed people who dedicated their life to serve humanity and make remarkable contributions to people’s lives. If it were not for their efforts, it might not be much easier for the authors, early church fathers, philosophers and theologians to write about. This might be attributed to the numerous extra-ordinary activities which they performed. As already highlighted, amongst these people is Jesus Christ. It is a common knowledge to all Christians that Jesus is the most important figure in this religion. Had it not been for Him, Christianity would not have existed. This is because He managed to gather large multitudes and performed numerous miracles which many people, especially His critics could not believe. Therefore, because He had lots of stories to be written, several books have been published provide people with all these information. They are very important since they act as evidence for the great works that He did as He was battling the dominance of the Pharisees who had taken control of the Jewish community for a very long time. Unlike Jesus, these Pharisees were so conservative and had made life to be too challenging to the ordinary Jews who needed to be saved from such oppression.
The Roman church under the stewardship of the bishops and popes gradually diverged in beliefs and practices of the church of Constantinople, under the patriarch (Warren, 300). The Romans had an extensive presence in Western Europe whereas the Christians in Constantinople occupied the Eastern part. The Roman Church underwent severalsplits during the sixteenth century. The split created two distinct Christian groups, the Roman Catholic and the protestant. Protestant, referred to any denomination that had a link to Eastern Orthodox beliefs or one of the Roman Catholic branches. Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah. This believes was strengthened by what he had accomplished. Christians believed that Jesusperformedvarious important task aimed at benefiting the entire world. He did this without favor or interest of any individual nation in mind. His work was unique, that no any person wouldhave dared to accomplish. From what Jesus said and did, his adherents came to acknowledge that God was using Him in a unique way (Duckett, 16). Perhaps, he was the Messiah anticipatedtostart Gods kingdom on the earth. These assertions of Jesus Christ made the early followers of Christian faithbelieve in Him, hence spreading of Christianity to other lands. According to Christianity website, the term “Christian” was a derogatory word used by “outsiders” (Christianity). In writing the New Testament, the term initially used to refer to believers was the “assembly”. Assembly was a Greek wordEcclesia; it meantan assembly or a group of people. The term had a political undertone in Greek. Much later, in the third and fourth century, the term “church” came into use. It meant a definite assembly that believers were composed of. The “church “was also a Greek term,Kuriakon. It designated “belonging to the Lord” (Guisepi).
In summary, taking its time to establish a radically theological point of view, this essay aims to apply it to the body of novel literature in 18th century England, probing and inquiring it whether it is in support of Christianity as laid down in the New Testament or not. It assumes the stance of an advocate of "the narrow path", the strict and unforgiving measuring scale of those few taking the Christian way of life truly seriously. Thus, the arguments and deductions featured herein - which are the actual purpose of the piece - may well strike materialist and novel-advocate minds as unnotable and subjective. The author, on the other hand, is firmly convinced - on the grounds of faith - that the conclusions to come are as objective as it is possible, being based on the revelations of the Holy Trinity. All views and opinions featured are his own except where signified.
Christianity. A One Page Overview of Christian History.2011. Web.
Duckett, Bob. World Religions. Reference Reviews (1998): 8 – 18. Print.
Guisepi, Roberts A. A History of Christianity. 2011. Web.
Hannabuss, Stuart. Introduction to the World’s Major Religions. Reference Reviews (2006): 16 – 17.Print.
Warren, Matthews.World Religions. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2008.Print.