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Quotes

Quote #1

And then he continued to dream, and thought he might become even a Bishop by leading a pure, energetic, wise, Christian life. (1.6.9)

Before religion enters the picture, Jude dreams of being a scholar. He studies the classics. However, religion holds such sway in this time and place that Jude decides at one point that his focus has been all wrong, and that he should be studying the Testaments and leading a better life. At moments of doubt throughout his life, Jude will often return to religion to try to regroup. That is, until he is shunned because of his choices, his kids get killed, and the woman he loves leaves him—then he decides he's had enough of this whole religion thing. Hey, a guy can only take so much, right?

Quote #2

He had left his cottage at half-past three, intending to be sitting down again to the New Testament at half-past five. It was nine o'clock when, in another embrace, he stood to deliver her up at her father's door. (1.7.50)

Ah, even God can't compete with the ladies as far as Jude is concerned. While he might go back to his religious studies in moments of doubt, he lets them slide quite a bit when he is first courting Arabella (as in this quote) and throughout his pursuit of Sue.

Quote #3

'How shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and philosophic world to those evidences which were presented by Omnipotence?' (2.1.27)

It's just good to keep in mind that in the time and place of the novel, there is the "Christian" world, and there is everything that falls outside of that world. Here, the novel is quoting from Edward Gibbon's giant eighteenth-century history book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon is asking how it is that the "Pagan and philosophic world" could have ignored the miracles that were the signs of the birth and rise of Jesus. Hardy's quote here emphasizes that the struggle between personal Christian faith and the intellectual study of philosophy and non-Christian cultures isn't exactly new—it's something Gibbon faces way back in the eighteenth century, over a hundred years before poor Jude.

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