This book is a priceless read. Hughes gives us a lot of brilliant revelations into the humanity of Jesus as a man but it can be a frustrating and annoying read due to its long run-on sentences and archaic sentence structures. It’s more of a book written for the pastor, theologian, or scholar than it is for the common man. That may be disappointing since it surely couldn’t have been very accessible to the typical Joe of the late 19th century. This was written in 1880 and is considered a heritage piece in American culture and history. It is referenced frequently in many other writings on masculinity.
The key thesis of Thomas Hughes manliness is “conflict with evil”. Manliness is conflict with evil. This identified manliness as a means of good. Adam’s first confrontation with evil in the garden was a failure. Adam failed to be manly.
It’s particularly interesting, and perhaps prophetic, to read, “The conscience of every man recognizes courage as the foundation of manliness…and if Christianity runs counter to conscience in this matter, or indeed in any other, Christianity will go to the wall.”