The Church of England and Christian Antiquity: The Construction of a Confessional Identity in the…

Hardcover | March 26, 2009

byJean-Louis Quantin

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Today, the statement that Anglicans are fond of the Fathers and keen on patristic studies looks like a platitude. Like many platitudes, it is much less obvious than one might think. Indeed, it has a long and complex history. Jean-Louis Quantin shows how, between the Reformation and the lastyears of the Restoration, the rationale behind the Church of England's reliance on the Fathers as authorities on doctrinal controversies, changed significantly. Elizabethan divines, exactly like their Reformed counterparts on the Continent, used the Church Fathers to vindicate the Reformation fromRoman Catholic charges of novelty, but firmly rejected the authority of tradition. They stressed that, on all questions controverted, there was simply no consensus of the Fathers. Beginning with the 'avant-garde conformists' of early Stuart England, the reference to antiquity became more and moreprominent in the construction of a new confessional identity, in contradistinction both to Rome and to Continental Protestants, which, by 1680, may fairly be called 'Anglican'. English divines now gave to patristics the very highest of missions. In that late age of Christianity - so the idea ran -now that charisms had been withdrawn and miracles had ceased, the exploration of ancient texts was the only reliable route to truth. As the identity of the Church of England was thus redefined, its past was reinvented. This appeal to the Fathers boosted the self-confidence of the English clergy andhelped them to surmount the crises of the 1650s and 1680s. But it also undermined the orthodoxy that it was supposed to support.

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Today, the statement that Anglicans are fond of the Fathers and keen on patristic studies looks like a platitude. Like many platitudes, it is much less obvious than one might think. Indeed, it has a long and complex history. Jean-Louis Quantin shows how, between the Reformation and the lastyears of the Restoration, the rationale behind...

Jean-Louis Quantin was born on 20 August 1967 and studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure and the Sorbonne in Paris (D.Phil 1994; Habilitation 2003). He was a junior research fellow at the Maison Francaise in Oxford in 1993-1995, and was subsequently lecturer in early modern history at the University of Versailles in 1995-2002. Since ...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:480 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:March 26, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199557861

ISBN - 13:9780199557868

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI. The English Reformation and the Protestant view of antiquityThe Protestant appeal to the Fathers from Cranmer to JewelSola ScripturaPatristic orthodoxy'Unwritten traditions' and the 'consensus of the Fathers'Witnesses to the truth: the Fathers and the Protestant view of Church historyAugustine, Calvin, and Reformed orthodoxyII. Becoming traditional? The appeal to antiquity in Jacobean controversiesPrimitive episcopacyChrist's descent into HellThe cessation of miraclesFrom distinctiveness to singularityIII. Arminianism, Laudianism and the FathersTheological methodAugustinism and CalvinismThe authority of traditionIV. The Fathers assaultedThe survival of Elizabethan theologyTheological liberalism and the Fathers: the Great Tew circleAn anti-patristic breviary: Jean Daille's Use of the FathersThe first English fortune of Daille's Use of the FathersV. A patristic identityPuritan scripturalismThe extinction of the Great Tew spirit?The Restoration Church between Dissenters and PapistsHistory versus enthusiasmWinning the patristic argumentVI. The case for traditionDefending the FathersHierarchical tradition: the solution of Herbert ThorndikeHistorical tradition: the solution of Henry DodwellConclusion