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Florence Nightingale’s Spiritual Journey: Biblical Annotations, Sermons and Journal Notes

Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 2

Lynn McDonald

Publication Year: 2002

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is widely known as the heroine of the Crimean War and the founder of the modern profession of nursing. She was also a scholar and political activist who wrote and worked assiduously on many reform causes for more than forty years.

This series will confirm Nightingale as an important and significant nineteenth-century scholar and illustrate how she integrated her scholarship with political activism. Indispensable to scholars, and accessible and revealing to the general reader, it will show there is much more to know about Florence Nightingale than the “lady with the lamp.”

Although a life-long member of the Church of England, Nightingale has been described as both a Unitarian and a significan nineteenth-century mystic. Volume 2 begins with an introduction to the beliefs, influences and practices of this complex person. The second and largest part of this volume consists of Nightingale’s biblical annotations, made at various stages of her life (some dated, some not). The third part of volume 2 contains her journal notes, including her diary for 1877, which is published here for the first time. Much of this material is highly personal, even confessional in nature. Some of it is profoundly moving and will serve to show the complexity and power of Nightingale’s faith.

Currently, Volumes 1 to 11 are available in e-book version by subscription or from university and college libraries through the following vendors: Canadian Electronic Library, Ebrary, MyiLibrary, and Netlibrary.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Series: Collected Works of Florence Nightingale

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

Acknowledgments are due to the Henry Bonham Carter Will Trust for permission to publish Nightingale original manuscripts, and indeed for treating Nightingale material generally as being in the public domain. To the owners of Nightingale manuscripts thanks are due for their role in conservation, for permitting scholarly ...

Dramatis Personae

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pp. xi

List of Illustrations

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pp. xii

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A Précis of the Collected Works

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pp. 1

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is widely known as the heroine of the Crimean War and the most eminent founder of the modern profession of nursing. She was also a scholar and political activist who wrote and worked assiduously on her various social reform causes for more than forty years. Thus her writing (and ...

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Introduction to Volume 2

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pp. 3-4

Florence Nightingale’s religious philosophy underlay and informed all her writing and social reform activity, so it makes sense to begin the presentation of her collected works (post family) with it.1 A brief outline of the key events of her life pertinent to understanding her theology and spirituality opens the volume. We ...

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An Overview of Nightingale’s Spiritual Journey

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pp. 5-13

Florence Nightingale was raised in the Church of England; she received baptism while an infant in Florence and attended church (or chapel) regularly as a child. The family had been Unitarian on both sides and some relatives maintained that adherence, but it seems that neither of her parents did; her father’s theological ...

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Theological Views

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pp. 14-55

Nightingale tried a number of times to get her friend Benjamin Jowett to write a theodicy, a justification of the ways of God to humankind. (She liked to use a transliteration of the Greek, theodikè, which combines the words for God and justice and makes the meaning intuitively clear.) Jowett had, when the two first met, ...

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The Practice of Religion

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pp. 56-88

For Nightingale God was the great Creator, Law-Giver, Actor, Initiator, Saviour; the human role was clearly one of response or seconding God’s initiatives. This was to be our life-long, committed activity as co-workers with God, for which she often used the Greek term, συνεργοι´. The human’s task was to study the laws of God ...

Nightingale’s Biblical Annotations

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Key to Editing

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pp. 91-92

The material reported here has been carefully transcribed and verified (see the electronic text for a full description of the process). Remaining illegible words and passages are so indicated, with [illeg] or [?] inserted to indicate our best reading of the word or words in question. Dates for material cited or reproduced are given wherever possible, in ...

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pp. 93-99

Since the Bible was so central to Nightingale’s faith and devotions we have chosen to begin the publication of her views on religion with her extensive biblical annotations. The Bible Nightingale used throughout her adult life has been preserved and can be seen at the Florence Nightingale Museum at St Thomas’ Hospital ...

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Old Testament

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pp. 100-232

Source: Holy Bible. Appointed to be read in churches. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1843. Florence Nightingale Museum Nightingale was apparently given this Bible by her sister. A very faint inscription on the first page, discernible only with a magnifying glass, says: ‘‘P.N. to F.N. with all ...

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New Testament

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pp. 233-320

FN: The Four Gospels. John: Alexandrine mysticism, long dialectical discourses with an incident prefixed, exhibits Jesus publicly claiming his Messiahship from the first. Matthew, Mark and Luke: Galilean simplicity, short picturesque teachings, given as the growth of events, represent Jesus as ever privately concealing his Messiahship ...

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Annotations from the Jubilee Bible

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pp. 321

ED: In 1892 Nightingale’s friend Louisa Ashburton gave her a copy of the Jubilee edition of the Bible, published in 1887 to commemorate the fiftieth year of Queen Victoria’s reign. This Bible, in the collection of the Royal College of Nursing, London, has a small number of underlinings and annotations. ...

Sermons and Journal Notes

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pp. 325-361

Sermons were not only longer in Nightingale’s day than today, they were taken much more seriously, discussed, published and reviewed in newspapers and journals. Nightingale herself read sermons all her life. It seems that she wrote her first sermon at age nine, on the text, ‘‘Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.’’1 ...

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Journal Notes

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pp. 362-428

These deeply personal ‘‘dated notes’’ provide the reader a (partial) chronology of Nightingale’s spiritual journey. There are earlier letters relative to her spiritual journey, many in Volume 1, but they were clearly written to someone, while these notes were written for her own private use. The focus is her views on religion ...

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1877 Diary

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pp. 429-493

The small diary of 1877 affords an unusual glimpse into how Nightingale integrated her copious daily domestic responsibilities, appointments, and regular work on her ‘‘business,’’ with her devotions and reading notes, both devotional and professional ...

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Journal Notes

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pp. 494-562

Apart from the sometimes painfully revealing prayers and spiritual reflections, there are as in the diary above practical notes on the employment of Nightingale’s staff and other obligations. Her efforts with the eugenics expert and probability theorist, Francis Galton (1822-1911), to get a statistical chair established at ...


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pp. 563-571


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pp. 573-586

E-ISBN-13: 9780889207066
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889203662
Print-ISBN-10: 0889203660

Page Count: 598
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: Collected Works of Florence Nightingale