The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women's Writing

Living Edition
| Editors: Lesa Scholl (Editor-in-Chief)

Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truth Among the Artizans of England

Living reference work entry


Florence Nightingale’s Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truth (1860) is a significant work of theology, in which she shows the influence of philosopher Auguste Comte and positivism on her understanding of the science of religion. Her more famous work, Cassandra, was included in the second volume of Suggestions and argues for female engagement with the public sphere and social action. Nightingale’s theology was groundbreaking in its pragmatism, its intellectual engagement, its attention to earthly matters and social reform, and its call for a public space for women’s action.


Florence Nightingale is best known as the founder of modern nursing and a reformer of public health, particularly in regard to sanitation reform that began during her work as a nurse and administrator in the Crimean War. This public work was undergirded primarily by her religious convictions, which are most clearly articulated in her two-volume Suggestions for Thought to...


Nightingale, Florence Theology Unitarianism Social reform Positivism 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kathleen Lumley CollegeUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More College, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada