Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.487069
Title: Time and Eternity in British Evangelicalism, c. 1820 - c. 1860
Author: Spence, Martin
ISNI:       0000 0000 5065 4871
Awarding Body: University of Oxford.
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
This thesis examines the ways in which mid-nineteenth century evangelicals imagined and talked about the concepts of time and eternity, focusing particularly upon the eschatological position termed 'historicist premillennialism'. Although often seen as indicative of a reactionary or pessimistic tum in nineteenth-century evangelicalism, this study argues that historicist premillennialist thought was closely related to ideas that are usually viewed as progressive or optimistic within nineteenthcentury religious life. Historicist premillennialism is understood as part of the development of Victorian theology in which the temporal sphere (or 'time') came to receive new emphasis as an important and enduring element within the purposes of God, rather than as a simply a place of preparation for heaven (or 'eternity'). Drawing on sermons, tracts, and religious periodicals, this thesis examines four aspects of historicist premillennialism which exhibited this growing emphasis upon the temporal-spatial sphere. First, it demonstrates that historicist premillennialists believed that God manifested his purposes in history, working gradually through nations to enact his plan of redemption. Secondly, it examines their belief that God would establish his eternal kingdom on earth, not in an immaterial heaven, thus creating the conditions in which resurrected human beings could continue to live in society forever. Thirdly, it suggests that this high view of the physical universe led some historicist premillennialists to hope that intimate communion with the 'eternal' could be experienced even within the present dispensation, thus prompting some reconsideration of whether 'eternity' was best understood as a quality of existence, rather than as a future state. Finally, the thesis examines the commitment shown by some historicist premillennialists to ameliorative social reform. It suggests that their eschatological commitment to materiality, and also a belief that God was concerned with behaviour of communities as well as with individual morality, explains the growth of reforming sentiment within the movement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: University of Oxford., 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.487069  DOI: Not available
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