Joseph Andrews and the Sacrifice of Isaac: Faith, Works and Anticlericalism

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In Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding has Parson Adams invoke Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac as a way of dissuading Joseph Andrews from an over-hasty marriage. Yet Adams is inconsolable when it seems that his own son is drowned. The episode is placed in the context of contemporary debates about the Biblical text, sacrifice and the Eucharist. Deists used the story to attack the immorality of revealed religion and the sacerdotal role of the priesthood. Fielding emerges as a defender of Anglican orthodoxy while undermining the role of the clergy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
JournalLiterature and Theology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Anglicanism
  • deism
  • anticlericalism
  • eighteenth century literature
  • fiction

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