Tractarians and the Condition of England: The Social and Political Thought of the Oxford Movement

Hardcover | November 15, 2004

byS. A. Skinner

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Tractarians and the 'Condition of England' challenges the conventional view of tractarianism as an episode in church history, and the assumption that tractarians had little interest in the 'social condition of England'. It argues that, by a natural application of their theory of the church'sprimacy over the state, first-generation tractarians in fact directed a vigorous commentary against the iniquities of commercialism, of political economy and the new poor law, and of the condition of the labouring poor. This conclusion is derived in part from conventional sources for tractarianthought, such as manuscript, homiletic, and pamphlet material. However, the book also makes systematic use of two neglected though rich polemical sources: the British Critic, a quarterly periodical for whose editorial control J. H. Newman successfully manoeuvred in the late 1830s, and the canon ofsocial novels issued by some of tractarianism's prolific yet forgotten commentators, in particular William Gresley and F. E. Paget. The author, Simon Skinner, complements recent scholarship which has refined understanding of the political and intellectual culture of nineteenth-century Britain byrecovering religious and theological dimensions.

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Tractarians and the 'Condition of England' challenges the conventional view of tractarianism as an episode in church history, and the assumption that tractarians had little interest in the 'social condition of England'. It argues that, by a natural application of their theory of the church'sprimacy over the state, first-generation trac...

S. A. Skinner is at Fellow of Balliol College and Lecturer in History, University of Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:340 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.97 inPublished:November 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199273235

ISBN - 13:9780199273232

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Tractarian Commentary and PosterityThe Background1. Sources of Tractarian CriticismThe Political Model2. High Politics: Church and State3. Low Politics: the Parish UnitThe Social Criticism4. The Commercial Spirit: 'the Worship of Mammon'5. Political Economy: 'the Philosophy of Antichrist'6. The Church and the Poor: 'the Poor Man's Court of Justice'ConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Skinner's book reflects deep research and careful analysis ... an extremely important book,and must reading for anyone who is seriously interested in the Oxford Movement or the history of nineteenth-century religion.'George Mariz, History: Review of New Books