The Sceptic and the Infidel

Bernard Cracroft

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: Prose essay

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


In this essay, Bernard Cracroft discusses toleration and religious doubt, praising the latter as “the primary dissolvent of error, the harbinger of approaching truth” (611). Though Cracroft takes his subject seriously, his prose here is wittier than most of the articles in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. As Fulford does in his essay on women’s education, Cracroft responds to specific works, including Conybeare’s Perversion, or the Causes of Infidelity. Conybeare is the target of much of the criticism in this essay.

The second part of the essay, which was left out of the December table of contents, begins with the argument that “no worship, and no ethical doctrine, ever can be fixed, so long as humanity is not fixed, but progressive” (646), and continues the discussion of the relationship between science and religion that was touched upon in the first part.

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , 1856, in two parts: the first part in October and the second part in November.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
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