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In this article I focus on the threefold ‘conversion’ of the famous Victorian poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manly Hopkins: his conversion as an Anglican to the Roman Catholic Church in 1866, his decision to enter the Society of Jesus two years later, and the transformation of his theological and aesthetic view under the influence of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, roughly from 1868 onwards. As we will see, in all these stages the highly sensitive Hopkins was struggling with conflicting ideas which were equally important to him: Victorian temper versus Catholic world view, his opinion on the inseparability of art and religion, his asceticism and the disciplining of the senses versus his admiration of nature’s beauty as a means to praise God, and, of course, his poetry as a way of expressing his deepest religious feelings. These ‘stages’ of conversion, or shifting religious mindsets, should not be mistaken for isolated events in his life, pinned exactly on the given years. Hopkins’s religious ideas and spirituality were continually developing, as his diaries, notes and correspondence clearly show.

In: Conversion and Church
Author:

Abstract

In this article I focus on the threefold ‘conversion’ of the famous Victorian poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manly Hopkins: his conversion as an Anglican to the Roman Catholic Church in 1866, his decision to enter the Society of Jesus two years later, and the transformation of his theological and aesthetic view under the influence of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, roughly from 1868 onwards. As we will see, in all these stages the highly sensitive Hopkins was struggling with conflicting ideas which were equally important to him: Victorian temper versus Catholic world view, his opinion on the inseparability of art and religion, his asceticism and the disciplining of the senses versus his admiration of nature’s beauty as a means to praise God, and, of course, his poetry as a way of expressing his deepest religious feelings. These ‘stages’ of conversion, or shifting religious mindsets, should not be mistaken for isolated events in his life, pinned exactly on the given years. Hopkins’s religious ideas and spirituality were continually developing, as his diaries, notes and correspondence clearly show.

In: Conversion and Church
In: Religious Stories We Live By
Formerly: Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis
Editors-in-Chief: , , and
Church History and Religious Culture (formerly: Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History) is a long-established, peer-reviewed periodical, primarily devoted to the history of Christianity. The journal publishes research on all periods of the history of Christianity, and on any aspect of it. This includes, but is not limited to, articles that relate the history of Christianity and Christian theology to the history of philosophy, the history of science, the history of economics, or the history of law. Frequent theme issues allow deeper, cutting-edge discussion of selected topics. An extensive book review section is included in every issue keeping you up to date with all the latest information in the field of church history.

See also the related book series Brill's Series in Church History and Religious Culture.
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