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Alternative Episcopal Oversight and the Church of England: Historical Perspectives on Authority, Identity and the Anglican Realignment

HARGITT, AIDAN,ROBERT,JOHN (2015) Alternative Episcopal Oversight and the Church of England: Historical Perspectives on Authority, Identity and the Anglican Realignment. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis will explore the historical roots of alternative episcopal oversight as it affects the Church of England in the form of Provincial Episcopal Visitors and the Anglican Realignment. This thesis will argue that these developments are the latest instalments in a cycle of conflict and adaption through which Anglicanism has consistently gone due to its non-specific and plural ecclesiology.

That non-specific ecclesiology, containing both Protestant and Catholic elements as a result of the Reformation, has been able to shift its emphasis in response to circumstances, from national Protestantism, with high- and low-church elements, to a global Catholic sacramental communion as the 19th century gave way to the 20th.

In the 20th century Anglican comprehensiveness, composed of Catholic and Reformed beliefs and practices balanced by latitudinarian tolerance, has broadened considerably with the inclusion of modernist theology grounded in contemporary experience. In a post-Christian and secular pluralist society, the breadth of belief and practice possible within that comprehensiveness has critically stretched the Catholic model of territorial bishops in sacramental communion both in England and the Anglican Communion.

On human sexuality and women’s ministry the broadening of comprehensiveness has been further driven by a phenomenon this thesis will identify as social erastianism. This term describes the particular pressure felt by the Church of England as a national church to keep its doctrine and practice within the limits of what the post-Christian nation it represents considers acceptable.

The crisis of comprehensiveness and the Anglican Realignment are challenging but not unprecedented. On the contrary, as this thesis will demonstrate, they stand within a historical Anglican tradition of using the full range of Protestant and Catholic elements contained within its ecclesiology to adapt itself to the developing circumstances of each age whilst maintaining a recognisably continuous Anglican identity.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Keywords:"Church of England," "Episcopacy," "Authority," "Anglicanism," "Protestantism," "Anglo-Catholicism," "Homosexuality," "Female ordination," "Orders," "Church Doctrine," "Anglican Realignment," "Para-Church group," "Methodism," "Anglican Church of North America," "The Episcopal Church," "USA," "Canada," "Flying Bishop,", "Alternative Episcopal Oversight," "Ordinariate,"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 May 2015 16:29

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