Samuel Wilberforce, Thomas Huxley, and Genesis

John Hedley Brooke

in The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199204540
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Samuel Wilberforce, Thomas Huxley, and Genesis

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Both the bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and Thomas Huxley, one of Darwin's staunch defenders, wrote long reviews of Darwin's Origin of Species that accurately reveal their differences. In Wilberforce's extensive review, the majority of space was devoted to what he regarded as the scientific and philosophical shortcomings of Darwin's theory. A striking feature of Wilberforce's review was its calculated avoidance of theological opprobrium. He left no doubt that he saw incompatibility between the new science and a Christian anthropology, but only in the closing pages of his critique did he dwell on theological issues. Huxley saw in Darwinian theory the beginning of a new epoch in which the cultural issues raised were of such magnitude that, with prophetic accuracy, he judged them unlikely to be resolved in his generation.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Samuel Wilberforce; Thomas Huxley; Origin of Species; science

Article.  6904 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Christianity

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