Chapter

Paradise Regained

Geoffrey Cantor

in Religion and the Great Exhibition of 1851

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596676
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725685 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596676.003.0008
Paradise Regained

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This chapter focuses on the optimistic Christians who envisaged the Exhibition as the herald of a better world. The first section shows that the dispersion at Babel (Gen. 11:1‐9) was seen by supporters of the Exhibition as conferring positive historical significance on contemporary events. Subsequently there is discussion of those religious writers who interpreted the gathering of people from many nations at the Exhibition as a sign of human progress and improvement. Congregationalists in particular conceived of a new reign of Christianity leading to a world order in which all people would develop higher moral sensibilities, live in harmony, and ultimately achieve salvation. In the final two sections the connections between the Exhibition, internationalism, and pacifism are examined, especially through the well‐attended Peace Congress held in London contemporaneously with the Exhibition.

Keywords: Babel; Congregationalists; Great Exhibition; improvement; internationalism; pacifism; Peace Congress; progress

Chapter.  8999 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Christianity

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