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John Ruskin his theology and faith

Malleson, Michael L (1992) John Ruskin his theology and faith. Masters thesis, Durham University.



John Ruskin (1819-1900) was brought up by wealthy Evangelical parents. By the time he went to Oxford he was already interested in art, architecture and geology, which studies he continued afterwards. His first books. Modem Painters, Vols. 1 and 2, were about art and its relationship to God and nature. Great artists depicted God through their painting of nature, which Ruskin called 'God's second book'. Though Ruskin was outwardly a strong Evangelical, in reality he had serious doubts which he kept concealed from the public. In 1858 he had an 'unconversion' experience while in a Turin chapel, becoming convinced that religion and faith could be better found outside a Church. Both before and after his 'unconversion', he tried unsuccessfully to reconcile his Evangelical upbringing and beliefs with his doubts, depressions and questioning faith. Ruskin's marriage was annulled, but then he fell in love with a girl. Rose La Touche, which relationship caused great emotional crises, partly because she, as a pious young lady, would not accept Ruskin with his 'heathenism'. At about this time Ruskin was becoming interested in Greek mythology, discovering in it religious and moral truths that he could not find in contemporary religion and Church life. In 1860 he wrote Unto This Last which was a severe criticism of 'Political Economy' and the harshness of industrial society. Fran then on he wrote much social criticism, blaming the clergy and Church for allowing these social evils contrary to Christ's teachings. In later life Ruskin gradually accepted the Christian teachings again, with a renewed respect for the Bible. But he remained extremely critical of society, clergy and Church people who did not practice the moral teachings of Christ.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:58

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