Freedom and Order: The Bible and British Politics

Overview


2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James' Bible and will see a great deal of celebration and comment about the impact of the Bible on British culture. Much of the story is well-known, such as the Bible's seminal influence on British language and literature, but one aspect—the influence of the Bible on English politics—is largely unknown or ignored. Moreover, when it is not ignored, the Bible's influence on politics is treated as that from which we have escaped, in order that we may ...
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Overview


2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James' Bible and will see a great deal of celebration and comment about the impact of the Bible on British culture. Much of the story is well-known, such as the Bible's seminal influence on British language and literature, but one aspect—the influence of the Bible on English politics—is largely unknown or ignored. Moreover, when it is not ignored, the Bible's influence on politics is treated as that from which we have escaped, in order that we may enjoy our current freedoms, rather than something that contributed positively to political thought or history. This is misleading. Freedom and Order seeks to inform people of the Bible's critical and positive influence on politics in Britain throughout modern history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Nick Spencer ranges stylishly over English history from Saint Augustine's landing in Kent to Saint Tony Blair and beyond, richly documenting how this realm of England was a biblically based culture even before the realm of England was invented. Clarity and learning lightly worn make this book stand out from the herd in this year celebrating King James's contribution to biblical translation."  —Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford

"For anyone freshly curious to understand that jagged and sometimes bloodstained terrain between religion and politics, Church and State in these islands, this is the book for you. Nick Spencer is an ace historical cartographer of that landscape; a guide of fluency and judgement for those who wish to cross it from the seventh century to the present day."  —Lord Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340996249
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 5/14/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Nick Spencer is Director of Studies at Theos, the public theology think tank. He has written a number of books, most recently Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living, and is the author of God and Government.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations viii

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction: The political Bible 1

Part 1 Before the English Bible 15

1 'Whether you will or not, you will have him as a judge': Laying foundations 17

2 'No traitor to the king but a priest of God': Discord and conflict in the Middle Ages 41

Part 2 The Age of Biblical Politics and its Shadow 61

3 'The authority of princes may not be resisted': The weight of obedience 63

4 'God at this point gives the sword into the people's hand': Struggling with disobedience 83

5 'A people set at liberty': Divine right and democracy 104

6 'Under our vines we'll sit and sing': Restoration and reason 137

Part 3 Relocating the Kingdom of God 163

7 'The inestimable price of Christ's blood': Evangelicals, abolitionists, revolutionaries, economists 165

8 'Everything for time, and nothing for eternity': Education, empire and eclipse 191

9 'Jesus Christ was the first Chartist': Christian radicalism 214

10 'He meant us to do secular work in His name': Church and kingdom 236

11 'The role of the State in Christian Society is to encourage virtue, not to usurp it': Negotiating a new landscape 260

Postscript 294

Select bibliography 305

Endnotes 315

Index 362

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