Monday 18 May 2009

Essays and Reviews In Depth

The St. Mary's Barton-upon-Humber In Depth Group has arrived at the stage of Anglican Controversies, that is those liberal-end events of theology that came out of the university and seminary and had some impact on the media and the public. The first example we will look at is Essays and Reviews of 1860.

The presentation is me ad-libbing from an academic standard paper I have written on this subject, and/ or from the mainly paragraph by paragraph summary. There is also a bibliography and a short main issues section. All these four sections come together in one. I like people to discuss straight away, so there doesn't have to be sitting in silence while I talk, and people can and do talk on anything they like in any way they like.

Essays and Reviews was the one outburst in Anglicanism of open theology in the Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Harnack and Troeltsch tradition of theological equality with other disciplines like history and sociology. Since then Anglican controversies have been far more limited and more internal theologically. Honest to God (1962) was based on modern Christology-preserving theologians. The Myth of God Incarnate (1977) is not strictly Anglican (alone) but was really controversial through confusion but the Doctrine Commission a year earlier was interesting. Controversies since then have been rather pathetic (e.g. the 1980s Durham Affair), and show the slide of English Anglicanism towards a more conservative position. Of course there are the Don Cupitts and (from Scotland) Richard Holloways, but they are institutionally marginalised and, frankly, don't care themselves much for the institution any more. The nineteenth century theologians like Benjamin Jowett did care for the Church of England as a national Church, but they took it to dangerous limits and as close to the Unitarians as it could go (a number interacted). Since then it has been nowhere near, theologically, but for occasional individuals. People seem to keep their mouths shut.

This section of the course is available as a .PDF file alone. I advise people not to use the slow and cumbersome Acrobat Reader, but get PDF X-Change, which is a much more flexible and featured free reader that allows note making - and the free version is more than perfectly adequate. When using the typewriter function (for mark up text - XML writing overlay on the .PDF), remember that a right click on the font choice allows that choice to become permanent - there is no need to use Courier New at 10 point all the time. I would also get Sumatra PDF for reliable printing (and it sees mark up text; some .PDF viewers do not see mark up text).

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