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