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Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain

The Disinherited Spirit

Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain by Frank Prochaska
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An elegantly written study that charts the relationship between Christianity and social service in Britain since the eighteenth century and presents a challenging new interpretation of the links between Christian decline and democratic traditions. - ;Few subjects bring out so well the differences between ourselves and our ancestors as the history of Christian charity. In an increasingly mobile and materialist world, in which culture has grown more national, indeed global, we no longer relate to the lost world of nineteenth-century parish life. Today, we can hardly imagine a voluntary society that boasted millions of religious associations providing essential services, in which the public rarely saw a government official apart

from the post office clerk. Against the background of the welfare state and the collapse of church membership, the very idea of Christian social reform has a quaint, Victorian air about it.

In this elegantly written study of shifting British values, Frank Prochaska examines the importance of Christianity as an inspiration for political and social behaviour in the nineteenth century and the forces that undermined both religion and philanthropy in the twentieth. The waning of religion and the growth of government responsibility for social provision were closely intertwined. Prochaska shows how the creation of the modern British state undermined religious belief and customs of

associational citizenship. In unravelling some of the complexities in the evolving relationship between voluntarism and the state, the book presents a challenging new interpretation of Christian decline and democratic traditions in Britain. - ;Frank Prochaska has made an impressive contribution to late modern British history - Andrew Chandler, Journal of Ecclesiastical History;A thoroughly enjoyable book: a highly informative history and a refreshing polemic. - Terry Philpot, The Tablet;This is a well written book. Any future studies on the decline of Christianity in modern Britain should include Prochaska's argument. - Andreas Whittam Smith, The Church Times;The issues raised here could not be more important to the future of British democracy ... Each part of this thrilling analysis should disturb the dreary complacency now engulfing the debate on the future of British democracy. - Frank Field, The Spectator;...A very welcome interpretive study... - Jeremy Black, The Social Affairs Unit

Oxford University Press, UK; January 2006
229 pages; ISBN 9780191537066
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Title: Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain
Author: Frank Prochaska
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