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Hypatia

Hypatia by Charles Kingsley
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Charles Kingsley (June 12 1819 - January 23 1875) was an English divine, university professor, historian, and novelist, particularly associated with the West Country and north-east Hampshire. As a novelist, his chief power lay in his descriptive faculties, which are evident in this novel as he pictures the Egyptian desert and the ancient city Alexandria.

Hypatia, 1st published in 1853, is set in 5th Century A.D. Egypt. It centers upon a young orphan monk from a desert monastery who feels called to continue his religious life in the city. He discovers a sister, who is a prostitute living with a band of Goths. Other characters include Hypatia, a lady philosopher based on a historical personage; Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria; Felix, the Roman prefect; a Jewish man who has lost his faith; and an elderly Jewish woman who is like a sorceress. St. Augustine of Hippo makes a brief appearance.

First Page:

HYPATIA

or

NEW FOES WITH AN OLD FACE

By Charles Kingsley

PREFACE

A picture of life in the fifth century must needs contain much which will be painful to any reader, and which the young and innocent will do well to leave altogether unread. It has to represent a very hideous, though a very great, age; one of those critical and cardinal eras in the history of the human race, in which virtues and vices manifest themselves side by side even, at times, in the same person with the most startling openness and power. One who writes of such an era labours under a troublesome disadvantage. He dare not tell how evil people were; he will not be believed if he tells how good they were. In the present case that disadvantage is doubled; for while the sins of the Church, however heinous, were still such as admit of being expressed in words, the sins of the heathen world, against which she fought, were utterly indescribable; and the Christian apologist is thus compelled, for the sake of decency, to state the Church's case far more weakly than the facts deserve... Continue reading book >>


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