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Church, state and society in the thought of F. D. Maurice

Fleming, Marianne (1973) Church, state and society in the thought of F. D. Maurice. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The year 1972 marked the centenary of the death of F.D. Maurice, the great Anglican divine and Christian Socialist leader. This event sparked a renewed interest in his life and thought, and several new books have appeared. In this dissertation I wish to examine his legacy to modern Christians. The Victorian society in which his thought is rooted is no longer. Modern technology which was only just beginning then has now reached mammoth proportions, and the problems which accompany a capitalist economy have grown accordingly. Yet Maurice speaks to the modern man, as the great interest in his thought in the past two or three years has Indicated. Once he is examined in his own setting, his valuable Insights into the meaning of human life and society can be applied to our own society. I have taken as the main question, "What is of value in Maurice's thought now that the Christian State has disappeared?" This requires an examination of his notion of the Divine Order, Kingdom, Church, the State, and the relation of the Church to the State in particular and to society in general. The principal works I have used for this study are The Kingdom of Christ (1842) and Social Morality, although other writings have been referred to which support the arguments he has made in those two major works. The problems of his language and thought are many; most prominent are the relation of secular to sacred, the divinization of the State and society, and his identification of the Kingdom of God and Christ with the empirical Church. Bearing in mind that special blend of conservative and radical elements in his thought, I have found three major contributions to modern Christian life h is notion of the Church as sacrament of the Kingdom; his at tempt towards a political theology which should have resulted in revolutionary change in social structures; his feeling that the Church must retain its transcendent character and be true to its purely religious (therefore critical) message. It is this last which links his thought to many modern writings on the Church, including those of Paul Tillich, and which provides one answer to the complex question of the position of Christians in the modern world.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:41

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