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Nineteenth-Century British Sermons On Evolution And The Origin Of Species: The Dog That Didn’T Bark?

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Chapter Summary

Commenting on the significance of Darwin's achievement, Huxley drew attention to what he considered was a major shift in attitude. More important than the new perspectives on the reception of Darwin's theory provided by historians such as Brooke is the view of others such as Owen Chadwick. One test, of the impact of The Origin of Species in the 19th century is the effect it had on the lives of parishioners with whom the ministers and theologians came into contact. Whether it was Darwin's inability or unwillingness to explain the beginning of organic life or Darwin's placing of humans in too close a relationship to other living beings, for some clergymen Darwin's assertions could not be substantiated by the evidence given to support them. The challenges of biblical criticism, missions abroad, and church attendance at home were more important, more "spiritual", that the ideas in The Origin of Species.

Keywords: biblical criticism; Darwin's theory; evolution; nineteenth-century British sermon; The Origin of Species; Thomas H. Huxley



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