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A Rereading of Tract 90

Curnow, Kelvin F. (2010) A Rereading of Tract 90. Doctor of Theology thesis, UNSPECIFIED.


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The Oxford Movement (1833-1845) presented the most comprehensive nineteenth-century Anglican programme of systematic theology on the nature of the Church. The impetus for the formation of the Movement lay in the decision by the Whig Government to pass the Irish Church Act (1833). Its intention was to reorganise the Anglican dioceses in Ireland, effectively reducing their number to twelve. This action shattered the unity between the civil and ecclesiastical, the notion of a balanced relationship between the Church and State which had existed from Elizabethan times. That relationship was built around the central principle that to be an Englishman was to also be a member of the Church of England. Underlying this notion was that the secular and divine served each other and the nation as one. It had been assumed that one would not do harm to the other. The apologist Richard Hooker (1554-1600) enunciated this concept in his work, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity: "… there is not any man of the Church of England but the same man is not also a member of the commonwealth; nor any man a member of the commonwealth, which is not also of the Church of England". To some, the Irish Church Act appeared to break the nexus between the Church and the State which caused a crisis in the Church of England. The Church had long enjoyed the protection of Parliament and was considered to be in a privileged position. The events of 1833 effectively caused some in the Church to question the provenance of its authority, one which had for so long been assured by Governments, both Whig and Tory. The question was addressed in a sermon preached by John Keble (1792-1866) to the Judges of the Assize at St. Maryřs, Oxford, on 14 July, 1833. Keble noted in the Advertisement to the first edition of Sermons Academical and Occasional that the government was treating the established Church "… as one sect among many…" The comfortable balance between Church and State, a doctrine espoused by Hooker, had effectively been replaced with the doctrine of Erastianism. Keble proclaimed the Church could no longer look to the State for sanction but would find its authority in 'Apostolical Authority'.

Item Type: Theses (Doctor of Theology)
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: The Oxford Movement (1833-1845), Anglican Systematic Theology, the Irish Church Act (1833), civil and ecclesiastical, Richard Hooker (1554-1600), John Keble (1792-1866), Judges of the Assize at St. Maryřs, Sermons Academical and Occasional, Erastianism, Apostolical Authority,
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: C - Systematic Theology
College/Association with University of Divinity: CTC: Catholic Theological College
Depositing User: Cate Headey
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2010 03:51
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2011 15:41
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/541

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