The influence of Christianity in Victorian England

The centrality of Christian observance

Outward signs of religion were more obvious in Hardy's time than today. Churches were built in the new industrial cities and about half the population attended regularly. In villages and older towns and cities, parishes continued to be centres of the life of the community, as they had been for centuries. Moreover, even those who were not Christians or did not hold traditional beliefs would have recognised the Christian origins of the moral and ethical standards of the day.

The language of church

Whether deeply religious or not, most Victorian authors would have been strongly influenced by the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Hearing readings and sermons week by week in church, they would have absorbed the language and rhythms of the Bible. Hardy himself started as a Christian believer but eventually became an agnostic. However, he still used the Bible, which he knew very well, as a source for references and allusions.

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