The English Soul

Peter Ackroyd


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Reaktion Books
1 March 2024
ISBN: 9781789148459
416 pages

From the publisher

A magisterial portrayal of English Christianity over the last 1,400 years

The English Soul portrays the spirit and nature of English Christianity as it has developed over the last 1,400 years. As the predominant faith of the people, Christianity has been the reflection, perhaps the embodiment, of the English soul. This fascinating new history argues that Christianity has been the anchoring and defining doctrine of England, while accepting respectfully that other powerful and significant faiths have also influenced the religious sensibility of this nation.
Peter Ackroyd surveys the lives and faith of the most important figures of English Christianity, from the Venerable Bede to C. S. Lewis, exploring the mysticism of Julian of Norwich and William Blake, the tumultuous years of the Reformation, the emergence of the English Bible, the evangelical tradition, including John Wesley, and the contemporary contest between tradition, revival and atheism. This is an essential, comprehensive and accessible survey of English Christianity.