Transcendental Virtue

Philip Cafaro

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Transcendental Virtue

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The article assesses the virtues of Transcendentalism as a movement and the effects that brought it about in American society. It says that Transcendentalists sought to transcend old, tired forms of worship and rules for living not simply because they were constraints, but also because they impeded rather than served the impulse to worship and know the divine, including the divinity of moral law. The Transcendentalists claimed that the prayers and even the dogmas of the church were wholly insulated from the life and business of the people. The article states that transcendentalists argued for complete individual freedom in worshipping. And, many people embraced this approach simply because it meant greater freedom, just as others instinctively recoiled from it out of constitutional timidity. The article notes that the Transcendentalists saw dead forms and unthinking in ethics too. They questioned the lethargic practices and an unquestioning acceptance of conventional moral judgments too.

Keywords: worship; church; Christianity; freedom; prayer

Article.  6061 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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