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Durham e-Theses
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The character of Christ: the correlation of moral philosophy and Christology in Anglican theology 1830-1870

Sedgwick, Peter Humphrey (1982) The character of Christ: the correlation of moral philosophy and Christology in Anglican theology 1830-1870. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis argues that the influence of eighteenth-century moral philosophy on Victorian theology is seriously neglected. Its period is 1830-1870, but it looks back to Butler's work, and forward to the publication of Lux Mundi in 1889. Moral philosophy conceptualized the idea of amoral agent in ways seminal for a theology of the humanity of Christ (or The Character of Christ). Tractarian systematic theology was concerned about this and informed on it. It reflects the influence of moral philosophy in its epistemology of faith and its presentation of Christology, quite apart from ethical issues. Chapter One is an introduction justifying the theoretical position lying behind the chronological narrative and outlining the controversies that existed in 1830 in moral philosophy and Christology. Chapter Two shows the achievement of Butler in turning Anglican moralism into philosophical rigour and a theology of divine providential action. Chapter Three begins with the revival of systematic theology in 1830 by Newman and Robert Wilberforce, and demonstrates the complex inter relationship of character, Christology and epistemology. Chapter Four contrasts the Anglican reception of the Butlerian tradition in moral philosophy with its handling by Mill. Determinism and agnosticism are the legacy which philosophical radicalism bequeathed to the nineteenth century theologian therefter. Chapter Five offers a freewill defence by Seeley, Newman's view of Seeley, and the greatest mid-Victorian attack on agnosticism, the 1866 Hamptons of Henry Liddon. This results in a virtual rejection by Liddon of the use of moral philosophy by previous theologians, and the establishment of a theological ghetto. Chapter Six summarizes the narrative, demonstrates that Lux Mundi revived the use of moral philosophy in using Bradley and Green, and draws further theoretical conclusions on the relationship of character, moral philosophy and Christology.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1982
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:58

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