Letters: Church weakened

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The Independent Online
Sir: I suggest that David Friedrich Strauss's Life of Jesus was not deeply subversive of belief in early Victorian England ("Made in Germany", 25 June) but that the negative reaction to it then by the Church in this country resulted in many seeking a religious faith outside the Church.

Here was a book which, from within the Church, offered a thoughtful mythological interpretation of the New Testament in place of a weakening literalism which the Church has appeared to support ever since.

If theologians and biblical scholars had encouraged an English translation of the work soon after its German publication in 1835 there would have been opportunity for healthy debate and for its ideas to be absorbed into and adapted within the Church's thought. Instead, there was a delay of 11 years before George Eliot's translation appeared, financed by and used only by those who wanted to hasten social reform by weakening the Church.

The Rev R T H PEARSE

Network Secretary, Sea of Faith

Loughborough

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