Muscular Christianity

“Muscular Christianity” is a philosophy that blends Christian values with men's physical embodiment of masculinity. In the United States, its impact has been especially significant in fusing gender and power relations in two major social institutions: religion and sport.

Muscular Christianity originated in England during the early nineteenth century, and by 1850 it had become a dominant philosophy among Christian reform leaders. It was introduced in the United States during the late nineteenth century in Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays (1890), a novel that linked Christian ideology with rugged masculinity through the story of a boy transformed into a man by playing rugby.

Protestant clergy developed muscular Christianity in reaction to several late-nineteenth-century developments in American life: the perceived feminine nature of Victorian religion; the dominance of ...

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