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A People of One BookThe Bible and the Victorians$
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Timothy Larsen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570096

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570096.001.0001

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Atheists

Atheists

Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, and ‘this indictable book’

Chapter:
(p.67) 3 Atheists
Source:
A People of One Book
Author(s):

Timothy Larsen (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570096.003.0004

Charles Bradlaugh was the most important leader of organized atheism in nineteenth-century Britain, and for some years Annie Besant was the most popular speaker in the movement after him. Bradlaugh was the president the of the National Secular Society and Besant was a vice president. Both of them had an education steeped in Scripture and both had a lifelong obsession with the Bible. Bradlaugh was essential an anti-Bible lecturer and his magnum opus was a biblical commentary on the Pentateuch. Likewise Besant, although she denounced the Bible as ‘this indictable book’, nevertheless habitually employed scriptural language when she wanted to articulate her own thoughts and experiences.

Keywords:   Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, Atheists, National Secular Society

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