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William Blake and Orthodox ChristianityCompare the thoughts and philosophy of William...

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jingwen | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 25, 2008 at 2:38 AM via web

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William Blake and Orthodox Christianity

Compare the thoughts and philosophy of William Blake to orthodox Christianity.

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bgl5704 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 25, 2008 at 2:56 AM (Answer #2)

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William Blake was not a orthodox christian. Althought he did ellude alot of the biblical scriptures in his poems. In a philisophical way William Blake is pantheistic or romantic. Christians viewed christ as the sacrificial lamb given by God to save us all. However, Blake see's christ as a violent and mysterious being. But Blake also viewed that there are two types of God's the personal and impersonal. The personal God is the God that he see's when he becomes closer with God. The impersonal God is the God that he views as condescending. And this view depends on the person. He basically started writing his own version of the bible. Jesus was not the savior, but instead a link between humans and divinity.

Check out his book "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." It explains more in depth on the way he had an awful lot of biblical undercurrents. 

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urthona | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:49 AM (Answer #3)

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Blake’s religious views were complex, radical, and rather opaque. Trying to discern them from his works can be maddening because of his frequent use of satire and of intentionally shocking and extreme declarations and imagery. A wide range of scholarly opinion exists on this topic.

Blake created his own mythical system to avoid being constrained by prevailing Christian beliefs, institutions, and morality. (As Los states in Jerusalem, “I must Create a System or be enslav’d by another mans"). Here are a few basic contrasts between Blake's myth and mainstream Christian belief:

  • Blake places humans (“The Universal Man,” “the Human Form Divine,” also known as “Albion”), rather than a god, at the center of his myths.
  • He recasts the Biblical fall of humans as a “fall into Division” of humankind.
  • He envisions the apocalypse as the reuniting of divided humankind ("his Resurrection to Unity").

See the third link below for a discussion of the influence of mystic Emmanuel Swedenborg on Blake’s religious thought.

I also recommend that you consult Northrop Frye’s Fearful Symmetry, David Erdman’s Prophet Against Empire, and the M.H. Abrams’s discussion of Blake in Natural Supernaturalism to help you craft an answer to your knotty question.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 25, 2008 at 8:21 AM (Answer #4)

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If you are writing on this topic, you might find it helpful to visit our page "How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay." 

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