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Durham e-Theses
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Charles Williams' understanding of evil and salvation, with particular reference to his novels

Mordecai, Thomas Huw (1992) Charles Williams' understanding of evil and salvation, with particular reference to his novels. Masters thesis, Durham University.



1) An examination of A. E. Waite and his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, of which Williams was a member for ten years. The symbols used by Waite had a profound effect upon Williams, who continued to employ them throughout his life. However, he rejected the implicit gnosticism of Waite in favour of the rites and doctrines of the Church of England.2) Moberly's Atonement and Personality is discussed. His understanding that the Holy Spirit is "the very constituting reality of ourselves", leads to Williams' belief in the inter-relationship of all Christians. To deliberately enter into this relationship ("co-inherence") is salvation; to attempt to retreat into isolation, damnation. The myth of the Fall is discussed, within the theological tradition of " Evil as non-being". With only the good to know, Adam chose to know good "as antagonism"; through the work of Christ what had been seen as evil can be known as good once more.3) Each of Williams' seven novels is analysed in the light of these issues. Waite's continuing influence is identified in Williams' use of occult symbolism. Equally important is the influence of the Anglican liturgy upon Williams' imagination. The novels demonstrate his belief in the effectiveness of co-inherence through "compacts of substitution". Because of the Atonement, repentance results in forgiveness and the redemption of the past. The giving and receiving of forgiveness is the foundation of the co-inherent life, in which all things can be known as "occasions for joy".

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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