Dickens and religion
Posted by Stolzi on December 16, 1997 at 10:43:42:
In response to Religion and ACC, written by Kate on December 16, 1997 at 10:23:21
] One thing I found interesting on this reading of A Christmas Carol was the presence and yet absence of overtly Christian ideas/theology/language. ... [snip] Dickens seems to have consciously avoided using the words "Christ" or "Jesus" (can someone who has the etext check this - I'm just grasping at straws here...)
] Is this where our own secular Christmas traditions get their credibility (they actually come from much much older pagan midwinter festivals)?
Many people credit Dickens with being a part-inventor of secular Christmas, or at least one who popularized and cast a glow over customs which had long existed and helped keep them from dying away.
I don't remember that he once uses the words "Christ" or "Jesus" and I don't know why this is. However Tiny Tim says that people looking at him in church might like to remember Who made the lame walk... and there is also the line, "it is good sometimes to be children, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child himself" (quoted from memory).
Dickens in his own life was something of a liberal. He wrote a "Life of Christ" for his own children which I believe was along humanistic or unitarian lines, though I haven't read it. A footnote in my edition of CC quotes from his "History of England" a line which makes St Dunstan out as a bit of a fraud. Dickens' thought on these matters was perhaps similar to Mark Twain's attitude, but less savagely cynical.
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