Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter, which examines the legitimacy of the persistent association of Shelley with atheism, begins by looking at his prose writings on religion. These include A Refutation of Deism, The Necessity of Atheism, and On Christianity. The chapter then considers his views on ethics, theology, the Church, and Christ, and whether these changed over time. Shelley is on the one hand unfailingly contemptuous of institutionalized Christianity, which he believed had ‘fenced about all crime with holiness’; and he is equally scornful of what he took to be some of its doctrines and its system of morality. He is also critical of traditional theological apologetics, in particular concerning the role of reason – or lack thereof – in religious belief, and attempts to prove the existence of God. And yet, on the other hand, Shelley was passionately attached to the founder of the system he hated so much – whom he praised as the ‘most just, wise, and benevolent of men’.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley, atheists, religion, prose writings, ethics, theology, Christianity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.