Idealism Embraced: Thomas Hill Green
Rain poured down incessantly on the spires and colleges of Oxford on a cold March morning in 1882 as the long funeral procession extended along Beaumont Street. Two thousand people congregated at the cemetery as the bells of several of the college chapels and churches tolled out their respects, whilst many of the tradesmen in the City either wholly or partially closed their places of business. As well as the worthies of the university, the Mayor and Corporation of Oxford and the boys of the High School and the Central School were also present. Who could call forth such an appreciative and devoted crowd on a cold morning, a gathering which involved not only the ‘gown’ of the university, but also the ‘town’ of Oxford? The fact that they were remembering an Oxford philosopher might seem strange, for academics, especially those with a reputation for the arcane abstractions of philosophy, do not usually spring to mind as being likely candidates for high ranking in the popularity stakes. However, Thomas Hill Green had combined the traditional academic life of a philosopher with a concern for the civic and educational welfare of Oxford which made him a respected figure well beyond his chosen home of Balliol College. This serious-minded mid-Victorian young man moved both intellectually and socially outside the dogmas and practices of his inherited evangelical faith, yet at the same time in the manner of many Victorians he retained a moral seriousness and personal integrity that he believed was its greatest fruit.
KeywordsChristian Faith Sceptical Theist Christian Belief Anglican Idealism Philosophical Idealism
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