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Harnessing Chaos: The Bible in English Political Discourse since 1968, 1st edition

  • James G Crossley
  • James G Crossley
Harnessing Chaos: The Bible in English Political Discourse since 1968

ISBN-13:  9780567669599


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This book is open access and available on It is funded by Knowledge Unlatched. Harnessing Chaos: The Bible in English Political Discourse Since 1968 (2014) looked at the shifts in political understandings of the Bible in the aftermath of the social and economic changes of the 1960s. The book examined the decline of the Radical bible (i.e. the Bible roughly equated with socialism) in parliamentary politics and the victory of (a modified form of) Thatcher's re-reading of the Liberal Bible tradition, which equated the Bible with rule of law, democracy and tolerance. This showed how Thatcher's Bible was developed by politicians and the significance of Tony Blair's socially liberal qualifications, as well as the Radical Bible's survival outside Parliament and against the backdrop of emerging Thatcherism. The new, revised edition of Harnessing Chaos includes an additional chapter/postscript on some of the remarkable and unexpected uses of the Bible that happened since 2014. These include David Cameron giving a number of key speeches which intensified Thatcher's Bible, particularly in his justification of his most controversial policy decisions surrounding foodbanks, austerity and ISIS, Ed Miliband engaging with Russell Brand's Radical Bible, and the unpredicted emergence of Jeremy Corbyn, which has seen him and his close allies explicitly use the Radical Bible, in direct disagreement with Thatcher, in his first major speeches. These developments have been, in varying degrees, unpredictable but also vital to understanding the fate of the Bible in contemporary English politics.

Table of contents

Preface to the 2016 Edition Introduction Chapter 1: 'Chaos is a Ladder': A Reception History of the Bible in English Politics Part I: Experiencing Defeat Chapter 2: Christopher Hill's World Turned Upside Down Chapter 3: This Was England: The Similitudes of Enoch Powell Part II: Thatcherism and the Harnessing of Chaos Chapter 4: 'Your Arms Are Just Too Short to Box with God': Margaret Thatcher's Neoliberal Bible Part III: Carriers of Cultural Change Chapter 5: 'We're All Individuals': When Life of Brian Collided with Thatcherism Chapter 6: Saving Margaret from the Guillotine: Independent Music in Manchester from the Rise of Thatcher to the Rise of Blair Part IV: From Thatcher's Legacy to Blair's Legacy Chapter 7: Your Own Personal Judas: The Rehabilitation of Jeffrey Archer Chapter 8: 45 Minutes from Doom! Tony Blair and the Radical Bible Rebranded Chapter 9: The Gove Bible versus the Occupy Bible Conclusion: Why Do Politicians Bother with the Bible? Postscript: Harnessing Chaos, Again: David Cameron, Russell Brand, Jeremy Corbyn Bibliography

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Published by T & T Clark International (May 19th 2016) - Copyright © 2016