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Tractarians and the 'Condition of England'The Social and Political Thought of the Oxford Movement$
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S. A. Skinner

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273232.001.0001

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The Commercial Spirit: ‘The worship of Mammon’

The Commercial Spirit: ‘The worship of Mammon’

(p.191) 4 The Commercial Spirit: ‘The worship of Mammon’
Tractarians and the 'Condition of England'

S. A. Skinner (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at tractarian criticism of the commercial spirit — ‘the worship of Mammon’ — and of the industrialism and economic individualism that threatened paternal social structures in Victorian England. As Christopher Dawson recognised at the outset of his celebrated essay The Spirit of the Oxford Movement in 1933, the anti-liberalism of the Oxford Movement is not a proof of its insensitiveness to the need for social reform. On the contrary, its hostility to liberalism was due, at least in part, to its dissatisfaction with a social system which seemed dedicated to the service of Mammon. The worship of mammon entailed individual and social evils. In the individual this was self-evident: it displaced the worship of God. Leading critics of commercialism during the period included John Henry Newman and Thomas Mozley. The chapter also discusses tractarians' medieval idealism as an obvious reflection of wider correspondences between tractarianism and romanticism.

Keywords:   tractarianism, commercialism, Thomas Mozley, John Henry Newman, industrialism, economic individualism, worship, Mammon, Oxford Movement

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