The desire for an adequate apologia for ‘Broad Church’ views resulted in 1858 in a plan for a book of radical ‘Essays and Reviews’ concerning the impact on Christian belief of the new perspectives on history, on the natural world and on the place of Scripture in the life of the Church. The essayists did not seek to present a broad and united front in their endeavours, and they trusted, naively as it turned out, that their various findings would commend themselves to the mission of the Church. The focus of this group was the classical scholar Benjamin Jowett (1817–93), Professor of Greek at Oxford and later Master of Balliol, who was a key figure in the introduction of the teachings of Plato to English intellectual life. The American scholar Frank Turner believes that the mission of Jowett and the essayists was to reinterpret Christianity ‘… to mesh with Plato and Plato to mesh with Christianity and both to mesh with polite Anglicanism, moderate social hierarchy, a strong state, and a sense of shared community’.1 Turner’s comment shows how the Arnoldian desire for comprehensiveness and a Church open to the changing world is combined with the more ancient and traditional framework of classical studies which (it was hoped) could preserve the best of the past with the knowledge of the present. However, both Jowett and the other contributors were treated with suspicion and hostility by conservative Christian voices.


Christian Faith Christian Belief Unite Front Classical Scholar Anglican Idealism 
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  1. 3.
    Prest, J.M. Jowett’s Correspondence on Education with Earl Russell in 1867, supplement to Balliol College Record 1965; quoted in Hinchliff, P. (1987), 105.Google Scholar

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© Timothy Maxwell Gouldstone 2005

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