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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Class, Imperialism and Literary Criticism: William Ngidi, John Colenso and Matthew Arnold
Author:Guy, JeffISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic terms:Natal
South Africa
race relations
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
About person:John William Colenso (1814-1883)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637619
Abstract:The first volume of the analysis by Natal's first Anglican bishop, John William Colenso, of the first six books of the Old Testament, 'The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua critically examined', was published in October 1862. It caused a scandal. Not only did Colenso say that the Bible was not true, but also that he had been led to this conclusion by the questions of his assistant in translation - an 'intelligent Zulu'. This paper examines the relationship which developed between Colenso and William Ngidi, his assistant in the study of the Zulu language in the 1850s and early 1860s. It shows how both men gained greater insight into the nature of religious belief through this experience, and how it led Colenso to enter the current debates on belief by means of a radical critique on the shallowness of the contemporary attitudes and teaching of his church. Amongst Colenso's most effective critics was Matthew Arnold whose attack on Colenso's work did much to ruin the bishop's reputation as a serious thinker on religious matters. But these attacks also reveal in Arnold a fear of the consequences of the democratization of knowledge which is significant given his formative role in the development of English literary studies. Notes, ref., sum.