Item 68 - Letter from J.R. Seeley to Henry Sidgwick

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Add.MS.c/95/68

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Letter from J.R. Seeley to Henry Sidgwick

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  • 27 Jun [ ] (Creation)

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Promises to keep Sidgwick's secret unless he abuses him too virulently. Refers to Sidgwick's MS, which he sends back with some notes he made on it [not included], and states his intention of making more remarks on it in the present letter. Refers to Sidgwick's remarks about 'Sage and [Mythers]', and discusses the 'Messiahship' of Christ, the miracles performed by the latter, and the relationship between Messiahship and kingship. States his objection to 'the pretension of finding something in the Gospels which their authors themselves did not know to be in them'; claims that Niebuhr is always doing this in Roman history. Refers to Sidgwick's implication that St Mark claimed that 'Christ called himself Messiah only late in his career', and to Sidgwick' interpretation of the story of the SyroPhoenician woman, i.e., 'that Christ's scheme had nothing to do with the Gentiles'. Believes Sidgwick to be 'thoroughly wrong in denying philanthropy to be part of [Christ's] scheme.' Remarks on Sidgwick's opinion of the Roman publicans, who, he claims, 'simply enforce an unpopular law', and were the agents of lawlessness, and refers to their portrayal in the Gospels. Refers to Sidgwick's remarks about Seeley's 'neglect of nuances' in his book, and explains that the work is intended only as a sketch. Asks about the reform of the Classical Tripos. States that he has a very strong opinion on the matter, and asks if Sidgwick would insert his views in the pamphlet he is writing.

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