Hennell, Charles Christian (1809-1850)


Hennell, Charles Christian (1809-1850)


Charles Christian Hennell is regarded as a major influence of George Eliot’s early maturity, and his historical account of the Bible, Inquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity (1838), influenced Eliot's faltering belief in Christianity that culminated in her refusal to attend church with her father in 1842. Hennell believed the Bible was partly true, but mingled with fiction, a view she accepted, especially as she began translating D. F. Straus’s The Life of Jesus (1846) and Ludwig Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity (1854). Hennell’s influence, wisdom, perspective, and analyses of historical facts were congenial to Eliot's questioning of Christian orthodoxy, particularly her  doubts about the supernatural elements in the Gospel stories of Christ’s life. Charles Hennell was the brother of Sara Hennell and Cara Hennell Bray, and in 1843, he married her close friend, Rufa Brabant.


George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett, https://georgeeliotarchive.org


Portrait of Charles Christian Hennell ,Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, England