The Victorians built tens of thousands of churches in the hundred years between 1800 and 1900. Wherever you might be in the English-speaking world, you will be close to a Victorian built or remodelled ecclesiastical building. Contemporary experience of church buildings is almost entirely down to the zeal of Victorians such as John Henry Newman, Samuel Wilberforce and Augustus Pugin, and their ideas about the role of architecture in our spiritual life and well-being. In Unlocking the Church, William Whyte explores a forgotten revolution in social and architectural history and in the history of the Church. He details the architectural and theological debates of the day, explaining how the Tractarians of Oxford and the Ecclesiologists of Cambridge were embroiled in the aesthetics of architecture, and how the Victorians profoundly changed the ways in which buildings were understood and experienced. No longer mere receptacles for worship, churches became active agents in their own rights, capable of conveying theological ideas and designed to shape people's emotions. These church buildings are now a challenge: their maintenance, repair or repurposing are pressing problems for parishes in age of declining attendance and dwindling funds. By understanding their past, unlocking the secrets of their space, there might be answers in how to deal with the legacy of the Victorians now and into the future.
Through various realignments beginning in the Revolutionary era and continuing across the nineteenth century, Christianity not only endured as a vital intellectual tradition contributed importantly to a wide variety of significant conversations, movements, and social transformations across the diverse spheres of intellectual, cultural, and social history. The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century Christian Thought proposes new readings of the diverse sites and variegated role of the Christian intellectual tradition across what has come to be called 'the long nineteenth century'. It represents the first comprehensive examination of a picture emerging from the twin recognition of Christianity's abiding intellectual influence and its radical transformation and diversification under the influence of the forces of modernity. Part one investigates changing paradigms that determine the evolving approaches to religious matters during the nineteenth century, providing readers with a sense of the fundamental changes at the time. Section two considers human nature and the nature of religion. It explores a range of categories rising to prominence in the course of the nineteenth century, and influencing the way religion in general, and Christianity in particular, were conceived. Part three focuses on the intellectual, cultural, and social developments of the time, while part four looks at Christianity and the arts-a major area in which Christian ideas, stories, and images were used, adapted, changes, and challenged during the nineteenth century. Christianity was radically pluralized in the nineteenth century, and the fifth section is dedicated to 'Christianity and Christianities'. The chapters sketch the major churches and confessions during the period. The final part considers doctrinal themes registering the wealth and scope through broad narrative and individual example. This authoritative reference work offers an indispensible overview of a period whose forceful ideas continue to be present in contemporary theology.