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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although some critics continue to defend the value of Matthew Arnold's thought for liberal theology, his biblical criticism is based on axioms no longer shared in the twentieth, let alone the twenty-first, century. After the horrors of the two World Wars, publicly shared values no longer seemed to constitute a certain basis for anything. Arnold's work has been more influential in literary studies than in theology. The very concept of ‘literature’ derives in part from Arnold's belief that poetry is a modern substitute for religion. Furthermore, he has continued to be influential in the interdisciplinary study of literature and theology. Arnold's argument that the Bible is a literary work, and must be read as such in order to be rightly understood, is still axiomatic in this field, even among those who continue to believe that it is also the Word of God.

Keywords: modern poetry, Matthew Arnold, Bible, liberal theology, biblical criticism, literature

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