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Time: 6.00pm - 7.15pm
Venue: JG0003, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE
Speaker(s): Dr Martin Corner - Licensed Lay Minister, All Saints Church Kingston
The Victorian poet, school reformer and cultural critic Matthew Arnold was one of the most provocative and original thinkers of his generation.
A century and a half since his work Culture and Anarchy was published, the profound problems which exercised Arnold have resurfaced to confront us again today: deepening economic and social divisions and the implications for a shared culture; the state of public education and the fundamental purpose of education; and the relationship between religion, society and the state - now in a multi-faith Britain.
Three free-standing discussions will explore key dimensions of Arnold's thinking, focusing on the implications and lessons for us today, introduced by Dr Martin Corner, former lecturer in English and American Literature at Kingston University, drawing in the thoughts of practitioners grappling with the same issues today.
Respondent: Andrew Williams, Faith Adviser, Kingston University
In later life Arnold developed his critique of contemporary society and culture toward questions of morality and belief which he saw as fundamental to a good society; and this at a time when traditional religion and the Bible, framed in literal and supernatural terms by both the Anglican and Dissenting churches, were increasingly rejected by more and more people, in particular the skilled, politically-aware urban artisans.
As Arnold saw it, the narrow religious vision on offer needlessly deprived people of any wider conception of spiritually, to their great loss, and so also threatened cultural anarchy. He began to speak of the poetry in religion, and of how, in the future, what he called poetry would come to take the place of religion as the Victorians understood it.
This issue is as urgent today, when the religion being most vigorously marketed is again increasingly fundamentalist, across all the major religions. This sort of faith suits many people. But others, who might respond to a more nuanced concept of belief, find not much from the organised faiths. Can Arnold's thinking help encourage a more nuanced view of belief, to the benefit, to wider society's benefit?
Tea and coffee will be served from 5.30pm.
For further information about this event:
Contact: Dr Martin Corner - Licensed Lay Minister, All Saints Church Kingston
Directions to JG0003, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE:
Dr Martin Corner - Licensed Lay Minister, All Saints Church Kingston