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The Dissenters Volume IIIThe Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity$
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Michael R. Watts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229698.001.0001

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‘A liberal education’

‘A liberal education’

Culture without Anarchy

(p.181) 10 ‘A liberal education’
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses Matthew Arnold's views about Nonconformists, as expressed in his famous attack on Dissent, Culture and Anarchy (1869). Arnold claimed that the world was divided into Hellenists and Hebraists, the former seeking ‘to see things as they really are’, the latter emphasizing ‘conduct and obedience’. Nonconformists were Hebraists, and because of their one-sided emphasis on religion, they had ‘little leisure or inclination’ left for culture. He further claimed that Englishmen were being taught by Dissenters such as John Bright, that their happiness depended on their right to do as they liked, and that in particular Nonconformists cherished the right to worship God as they saw fit. As a consequence, as he said, ‘we are in danger of drifting towards anarchy’.

Keywords:   Nonconformists, Matthew Arnold, culture, Dissenters, Dissent, anarchy, religion

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