//Views, reviews and previews

Views, reviews and previews

Art

 

Mantegna and Bellini

National Gallery

until 27th January, 2019

 

Charles Ryder famously didn’t know there were three Bellinis. This show concentrates on the one he did know, Giovanni (active 1459-1516), and on his brother-in-law, Andrea Mantegna (1430/1-1506).

It is not a complete show of either artist. Some of Mantegna’s greatest works were frescoes and among those which survived Allied bombing the Camera Picta in the Ducal Palace in Mantua is his finest work and the most significant for its choice of subject matter, its anticipation of Baroque total painting and the successful organisation of subject matter. Since Mategna’s pictorial organisation could be incoherent it’s a pity that we can’t see the best of his large-scale works in this show. Instead there are three panels of Her Majesty’s ‘Triumph of Caesar’ which are famous but the organisation doesn’t come off because of wonky perspective. We shouldn’t judge Mantegna on those panels.

Likewise, there was a lot more to Bellini than is at the National Gallery. A large number of Bellini’s works were lost in a fire at the Ducal Palace in Venice 1577, and many of his significant altarpieces are still in the churches they were designed for. Neither they nor the huge ‘St Mark preaching in Alexandria’ have travelled.

Still, the selection of works shown at the National Gallery is as good as we might have hoped for and more. And yet it is hard to assess important questions such as how far these painters were able to extend their subject matter to embrace humanist ideals. Mantegna, of course, did have an interest in myth, legend and Ancient Rome, illustrated by some finely painted works in this show. But we know Bellini as a painter wasn’t comfortable with historical painting. And the number of dead Christs supported by angels in the show reminds us just how important the religious market remained. So, the exhibition has its limits, but within those limits there are many wonderful paintings and drawings.

The curators have taken the opportunity of the high quality of loans to explore how Mantegna and Bellini influenced each other. The fact of this influence is clear enough and lasted from the point in 1453 when Mantegna moved from his native Padua to Venice where the Bellinis were the leading painting family, and, unusually for artists, citizens of La Serenissima. Seven years later Mantegna moved to Mantua to work for the Gonzaga family (his ‘Death of the Virgin’ has a beautiful Mantuan landscape viewed through a window). Nevertheless, it is clear that the two artists continued to influence each other and Bellini even accepted a commission to complete a cycle of friezes for the Cornaro family, left unfinished at Mantegna’s death. In many cases how the two influenced each other has led to art historical disputes which echo the Synoptic problem. In this show we can see a number of instances where it is clear who came first and how the other altered his approach.

The most familiar example of the two influencing each other is National’s own two Agonies in the Garden. A quick comparison brings out abiding contrasts between the two artists. Mantegna’s love and skill in foreshortening (something Bellini was much less successful with), his spiky, detailed and sculptural treatment of rocks and clothing, contrast with Bellini’s soft diffused light and interaction of light and people and countryside.

Two ‘Presentations of Christ in the Temple’ have even greater similarity in treatment – Bellini copied very precisely Mantegna’s version (in Berlin) while adding a couple of other figures for his own version (in Venice). And he made significant changes, opening out the picture and making it less hieratic. He was also by this time (1470-5) painting in oils which give a depth and lustre to his work, unlike the matt effect of egg tempera which Mantegna stayed with for the whole of his career. So, we might expect that Bellini’s version of the scene, even though a copy, would be the more forward-looking, freer and with a greater enjoyment of pure colour. And in many of Bellini’s works those qualities do shine through, notably in this show with the Accademia’s ‘Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine and Mary Magdalen.’ But in the middle of his Presentation’s typical, stagy stiffness, Mantegna has painted a Virgin of wonderful tenderness, with a young mother’s concern for the baby whom Simeon is taking from her. A similar tenderness comes in Mantegna’s Simon Madonna, a small picture of mother and child without halo, the child a proper baby size, pensively pressed to His mother’s cheek. It is an extraordinarily moving painting from a man whose work can be over-intellectual, witness Copenhagen’s ‘Dead Christ supported by two angels’, where Mantegna imagines Christ returning to life and the colour draining back into Him. An interesting idea, but weird in practice, despite the beautiful patterns of Christ’s winding cloth and chest. Bellini would never have made that kind of mistake, one reason why his works often slip down like the eponymous cocktail. Yet it is clear both artists profited from each other to make some compelling paintings, many of which are currently in London.   

It is rare for so many early Renaissance works to travel and this is a show not to be missed.

Owen Higgs

 

Books

 

Redeeming Transcendence in the Arts

Bearing Witness to the Triune God

Jeremy Begbie 2018

 

The relationship between Christianity and the arts, or rather between the institutional church and the arts, is at a low ebb. The established denominations often lack the funds and the will to commission major works; there is a puritanical streak among some in authority which declares that any money not spent on ‘mission’ (narrowly understood) is money squandered. This is in marked contrast with the situation just fifty years ago, when the Church of England regularly commissioned works from artists of the rank of John Piper, Graham Sutherland and Benjamin Britten. Moreover, modern Christian art is reticent about illuminating Christian doctrine. Why is it, for example, that the best modern stained glass is nearly always an abstract design, whereas much figurative work appears cliched and tired?

Jeremy Begbie, who has previously written extensively on theology and the arts, has here produced an important and exciting book which seeks to renew the conversation and rephrase it in explicitly Christian terms. He attempts to chart a new course, or rather to re-chart an old one! He questions many assumptions about transcendence, and in particular about the experience of the sublime, implicit in modern and post-modern thought from at least the time of Kant. The book’s implications, both for the Christian understanding of transcendence and also for the expression of Christian faith through the arts, need to be discussed and worked through in academic, artistic and church circles; particularly among those of us who regard orthodox Christian faith as the truth, and consequently long to see this truth acknowledged and celebrated in all aspects of human creative activity.

Begbie’s subtitle, ‘Bearing witness to the triune God’, is carefully chosen: he explains that he deliberately rejected alternative phrases such as ‘a Trinitarian approach’, as for Christians a Trinitarian approach should be inevitable. The subtitle points us to the meat of his argument. On the one hand, he expresses the profound debt of theologians and artists of all types to the apophatic tradition. He acknowledges the ease with which painting and music especially can express God’s unknowability, so preserving us from idolatry. In this, he suggests, the non-verbal arts are more helpful than the verbal, although later he offers a fascinating discussion of metaphor as ‘inexhaustively evocative’ and as saving its users from reductionism.  

On the other hand, Begbie suggests, for Christians, to encounter the transcendent is not ultimately to encounter the unknown, the ‘beyond’. Rather, we his creatures experience transcendence by knowing the triune God, by sharing in his life, whilst losing nothing of our creatureliness. (As Begbie points out, by very definition this is why such experience is transcendent and not merely ‘other’!) And this transcendent life of the Trinity has of course been most fully experienced in the life of God-made-man, Jesus of Nazareth; it is ‘the life that explodes with dazzling clarity in the resurrection of Jesus’. Begbie argues all this through a masterly discussion of relevant discourses in St. John’s Gospel, the Church Fathers, and much more modern writers on Trinitarian theology, including notably Karl Barth and Rowan Williams.

Begbie, as I suggested, is seeking in this book to re-initiate a conversation, and consequently there remains much to be said. His argument across just 188 pages is close and cogent, and thankfully he carefully takes the reader with him by frequently restating the argument thus far. His redefinition of the Christian theology of transcendence is compelling, and his extensive footnotes and comprehensive bibliography could provide a solid basis for much further discussion. Other reviewers have called rightly Begbie’s work a ‘revolution’ and a ‘revelation’, but nevertheless, in spite of his title, the implications of this theological revolution for the theory and practice of the arts are, as yet, not fully realised. This is despite the inclusion of insights from his previous writing about music, and also of sonnets written specifically for this book by Malcolm Guite. In particular, in his very last paragraph, he apologises for not revisiting works of art discussed in the first chapter, among them the paintings of Mark Rothko, and now applying to them the ‘biblical imagination’ he has been outlining, (the inclusion of plates of these pieces would be helpful and enjoyable too, even at extra cost). ‘It would be ironic’, he says, ‘if a book on transcendence didn’t know when to stop’. Yet I feel this omission is a pity, although consequently I am left looking forward to the next volume!

John Livesley

 

The Fall of Lucifer

Wendy Alec

Harper Inspire, 304 pp

ISBN 9780310090977

 

Speculative fiction, it would seem, brandishes a perpetual glut of authors and their novels, which fill the shelves of the young adult book market. But to see even the faintest workings of the creative mind on the Christian story is becoming a rarity. It is this, which, if anything, makes Wendy Alec’s new forays, into the ‘fantasy’ genre refreshing and surprising. I had the opportunity to read the opener of her more recent duology, the ‘Time before Time’. The intent was self-evident – this was high fantasy in the realms of Heaven. Time before time, age before ages.

When authors write about Christianity, they inevitably invite criticism, even attack, from a wide arc. Alec’s creative powers subdue by their focus, however, on that which is, by its nature, extra-biblical; her prose is a spiritual following through on the axiom, ‘Where the scripture is silent…’ Hence her story is one of Angels, a heavenly host where Lucifer still numbers among the angelic triumvirate, together with the messenger Gabriel and the defender, Michael. And it is a story with a simple purpose – to document Lucifer’s fall into the satanic.

For the most part, she succeeds. Young adult fiction is frequently swashbuckling – Alec makes no exception. ‘The Fall of Lucifer’ is replete with lavish portraits of Eden, of the beholding of Yehovah in his triune majesty, and of a marvellous sense of pageant and floridness. There is an airy sense of hyperbole to it all, which is fitting given its utter separation from what can only be reckoned as our own human earthy perceptions. Yet, while otherworldly, the thematic material, perhaps self-evidently, mirrors the fall of Man. The emotional intensity of Lucifer is like a prideful Cain, only jealous over Our Lord’s new Human creation in his image. And like in the Garden, the angel Lucifer begins with godliness, but perjures it by an arrogant thirst for domination.

There are some oddities to be found here, some good, some more troublesome. Alec, perhaps, tries to be more holistic than she is Holy. And so we have chapters on the scientific nature of God’s creation – rather than uncovered, these attributes are inherent, they are somehow superhuman. There is also a risk of obsession on the angelic, on the Godhead, rather than the Christ, which is, admittedly, a weakness of the theme. Could you recommend such a series of novels, with the confidence that it weaves a tale, long or short, pointing solidly towards the Faith? This is as yet unclear – having only half of what is a two-part tale.

‘The Fall of Lucifer’ is shot through with clipped sound bites, quotations pointing towards Holy Scripture, to the psalms, and to the life of Jesus. But sound bites, if rightly conveyed, outdo themselves. Wendy Alec may well have succeeded in sowing the seeds, in Christ-like fashion, and engaging the teenage mind upon the biblical. Readers may find they want to know more about the key mysteries of the Faith, the Trinity and the problem of evil – so creating students enthusiastic and ready for future catechesis.

William Allen

 

THE RICH MAN IN HIS CASTLE:

The Life, Family and Ministry of The Reverend Wentworth Watson (1848-1925)

John Morgan-Guy

Anglo Catholic History Society 2018 35pp  www.achs.org.uk

 

In 2009 I was privileged to deliver the inaugural Clumber Lecture in memory of the 7th Duke of Newcastle. Given in Bodley’s magnificent Clumber Park chapel following a Mass of Requiem for “the little Duke,” my subject was Anglo-Catholicism and Aristocracy. One of my amusing episcopal friends suggested that I was attempting to re-write Anglo-Catholic history, undermining those giants of slum parishes: that was not my aim. It was to point out that some of that rightly lauded work was made possible by aristocratic benefaction and support; that the growth of the Catholic Revival owed something to the political leadership of Viscount Halifax, the patronage and largesse of several aristocrats, not least the “Little Duke” and not least in building churches in populous parishes.

As those were my primary concerns I did not examine the fascinating, important stratum of priests with an aristocratic pedigree. There were a number of priests in the Anglo-Catholic tradition who were scions of titled families. There had been a long tradition of younger sons of the aristocracy being preferred to a family Living, the most emblematic, although fictional, was the Revd Lord Henry D’Ascoyne in “Kind Hearts and Coronets.” When showing what he thought was a colonial bishop around his church he pointed out that the “west window has all the exuberance of Chaucer without, happily, any of the concomitant crudities of his period.”

The Anglo-Catholic History Society has published a pamphlet by John Morgan-Guy about one such priest. Distantly related to Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, King Charles I’s principal minister and, by another line of descent, to Lord Rockingham, twice First Lord of the Treasury of George III, he was a younger son of a younger son yet, by untimely deaths, he inherited Rockingham Castle and its estates in 1899.

Before that he had been educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford where Dr Pusey was, by then, the de facto leader of the Oxford Movement. A more significant influence on Watson was that of Edward King, the Principal of Cuddesdon Theological College. Made deacon in 1871 and ordained priest in 1872 he served briefly in Richmond (Surrey) before moving to St Margaret’s, Roath, Cardiff under Fr Puller (later a Cowley Father). He was one of five curates who worked assiduously in the crowded lanes, alleys and streets of a populous parish. He was one of a distinguished coterie of curates one of whom, Charles Norfolk Smythies became Bishop of Zanzibar. Watson was twice offered colonial bishoprics (Zululand and Honduras) but declined.

In 1879 he became Vicar of St Mary, Monmouth. Here he saw through a scheme inaugurated by his predecessor to transform the parish church by the architect G. E. Street with windows by Kempe. In 1892 he was preferred to the Christ Church living of St Thomas, Oxford, one of the first churches to implement the principles and liturgical practices of the Catholic Revival. He succeeded Fr Thomas Chamberlain’s fifty-year incumbency but stayed a short time before moving to Abingdon. This incumbency was, also, relatively short-lived as he inherited Rockingham castle.

He did not abandon a priestly vocation and continued to provide cover, preach, host retreats. As Lord of the Manor of Kettering he was concerned with pastoral re-organisation and building of new parish churches. Two are now under the patronage of The Society for the Maintenance of the Faith. Without aspiring to national eminence, he was chairman of the Kettering Branch of the English Church Union. He died in 1925. It is good that this worthy and exemplary life is remembered.

William Davage

 

THE QUEST FOR QUEEN MARY

James Pope-Hennessy (Ed. Hugo Vickers)

Hodder and Stoughton / Zuleika 2018 335pp £25  ISBN 152933062-5

 

The genre of royal biographies is difficult to navigate between the Scylla of sycophancy and the Charybdis of sensationalism, as well as rocks of dull, dutiful, authorised, cauterised formality. There are, mercifully, exceptions. Harold Nicolson’s official biography of King George V is very good: Kenneth Rose’s biography is better. “Not a dull word about an essentially dull monarch.”

One biography stands out, tall, erect, unflinching (like its subject), that of Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy. What, initially, may have seemed a daunting, unpromising assignment, resulted in a beautifully written, acute, penetrating portrait. Never unkind, often sympathetic, his dry wit, poised irony, affectionate yet slyly subversive prose combined with psychological prescience to produce a biographical masterpiece. Not a term to be used lightly nor promiscuously.

His own lineage, cultural and social connections means that he moved easily in aristocratic circles and gave him an entrée into royal ones but his often rackety, demimonde life gave him something of an outsider’s perspective, which he used to good effect.

This book comprises notes, sometimes jottings, sometimes extended essays, of the interviews that he conducted during his research and preparation. They were embargoed from publication for fifty years and only fully now are available. A few, improperly, saw the light in “A Lonely Business – A Self-Portrait of James Pope-Hennessy” in 1980 edited by Peter Quennell following Pope-Hennessy’s murder in 1974. This is now rare and, when found, expensive.

Although there are editorial references showing that some material, anecdotes and judgements did not make it to the final, published version, nothing omitted would alter Pope-Hennessy’s conclusion and portrait. There are inevitably repetitions and overlaps in the interviews as the same incidents are recalled and comments and conclusions chime (or occasionally clash) one with another. But, despite that, this is a richly rewarding and very funny book. It is not a lost world because television documentaries routinely show interviews with royal retainers and servants . There is a small cottage industry of HM The Queen’s Maids of Honour at her Coronation retelling their memories. Biographies can bring an added terror to death but some of these documentaries anticipate that and savage the living.

One of Pope-Hennessy’s advantages was that many he interviewed were very elderly and had that marvellous freedom and fearlessness that can come with old age. To take but one example, the Hon. Margaret Wyndham (1879-1965. Youngest daughter of the 2nd Lord Leconfield; Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Mary from 1938 to 1951). She is the most acidic in her assessment of Queen Mary. Although “small, somewhat bent now, frail, over-refined looking, with snowy grey hair, horn rimmed glasses and occasionally a hearing aid” she did not sugar her comments. Queen Mary had a “terrible temper,” was “never a skilled needlewoman,” “not musical,” “not generous’,” “parsimonious,” with “no sense of humour at all … [rather] a sense of the ridiculous,” “inconsiderate,” her children were “liberated and much improved since her demise.” Similar reflections come from others but there were those who saw a better nature, a stoical reserve, a sense of public duty.

There are sparkling descriptions of encounters with many others, not least Prince Axel of the Danish Royal House, numerous German princes, grand dukes and duchesses and a warmly sympathetic account of a visit to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in their Parisian exile. Best of all (and alone worth the price of the book) are the several pages devoted to his visit to Barnwell Manor and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Both are wonderfully engaging personalities, she bright and sparky, sharp and sensible with hints of eccentricity. But the Duke effortlessly steals the scene. He swears like a Trooper, has a squealing infectious laugh, is delightfully self-aware (“very lazy’) and Pope-Hennessy warmed to him, as “one of the finest and most authentic specimens of the race … today.”

Hugo Vickers’ editorial hand is discrete and helpful. The footnotes are an Almanac de Gotha of major and minor royalty and he is a sure guide through the labyrinth of relationships. They also reveal a deadpan, laconic wit, viz, “Elvis Presley (1935-77), iconic American singer, dubbed, “The King of Rock ’n Roll.”

William Davage

 

Book of the month

 

THE OXFORD HISTORY OF ANGLICANISM, VOL. II:

Establishment and Empire, 1662-1829

Jeremy Gregory (ed.)

Oxford University Press, pp. xxviii + 527, £95

978-0-19-964463-6

 

This second volume of the Oxford History of Anglicanism begins with an outline history in three chapters, the watersheds being 1714 (when the Hanoverian succession deprived the high-church Tories of any prospect of renewed political power) and 1783 (when American independence set the scene for the formation there of a separate and distinctive church).

The 1662 settlement did not immediately end the turbulence of the Reformation era. That the ‘historic formularies’ had reached their final form was not immediately clear. The genie of dissent, liberated by the Interregnum, could not be put back into the bottle. Permitting organized nonconformist churches was the price that had to be paid for a settlement that validated and enshrined the reformed catholic vision of Anglican identity, but it was fifty years before the terms and extent of toleration were finally settled. The ‘confessional state’ created by a succession of statutes was a partisan achievement. The opposite party’s achievement, the rather limited Toleration Act of 1689, was more an admission of defeat: legislating to tolerate dissent recognized the effective end of their efforts at ‘comprehension’ (i.e. diluting Anglicanism to embrace a wider range of views).

After 1714 the Church of England was settled but not, as it was later portrayed, somnolent. As recent scholarship has demonstrated, its lack of neat and tidy administrative structures did not make it as inefficient as used to be thought. Non-residence and pluralism did not necessarily result in neglect: incumbents generally either lived nearby (in another parish or the nearest town) or employed curates. The Church was far livelier than Victorian accounts claimed. Thomas Secker was a reforming archbishop who understood reform to mean revival rather than structural change.

The book’s middle section, unhappily entitled ‘Regional Anglicanisms’, comprises chapters surveying Anglican history in nine nations or regions. This international emphasis, trumpeted in the introduction, owes more to modern concerns than to pre-1829 realities. England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and North America deserve separate chapters, but, as those on the West Indies, India, Africa, and Australia and New Zealand demonstrate, before the 1830s there was not enough Anglican history or presence in those areas to justify allocating one-eighth of this book to them.

A more proportionate treatment of the rest of the world would have allowed for a separate chapter on the post-1783 American Episcopal Church. Especially given the profound significance that its revolutionary polity would have for the future development of an Anglican Communion, the three pages allocated to it, in a chapter on North America by a historian of the pre-revolutionary church, are woefully inadequate.

Other chapters in this section are far better. W. M. Jacob’s pithy and comprehensive pen portrait of the English Church in this period is a tour de force. Though history highlights eighteenth-century heterodoxy and unbelief, the English enlightenment was predominantly Christian, Anglican and indeed clerical. The great majority of English clergy, Whig and Tory, were probably orthodox, with high doctrines of the Church, apostolic succession and the sacraments. In 1771 only 200 clergy – a tiny minority – supported a petition to end subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles. There is little evidence of anti-clericalism or of sustained intellectual attacks on Christianity, the Church or its clergy.

The Welsh Church, Paula Yates points out, has suffered at the hands of historians hostile to Anglicanism. In the eighteenth-century it was in fact solidly indigenous – led by English bishops but mostly staffed by Welsh-speaking clergy who identified with Wales’ Celtic inheritance. Until the last quarter of the century, dissent was weaker in Wales than in England. Only in the nineteenth century did the fateful identification of Welsh Anglicanism with Englishness begin – fostered by the National Society’s insistence on the use of English in its schools, by anglicization of the Welsh gentry, and by an influx of English industrialists.

The picture in Ireland was very different and intriguingly complex, combining a Calvinist emphasis on preaching with a persistent Laudian sacramentalism.

Alasdair Raffe offers a particularly clear account of the complexities of the Scottish Episcopalians’ history after 1690. Most were Jacobite Nonjurors, but initially some swore the oaths, retained their parish churches and were exempt from the Presbyterian church courts. The English Prayer Book was used not only in the ‘qualified chapels’ (24 by the nineteenth century) that were independent of the Scottish bishops but also in many nonjuring churches, though use of the revised Scottish Communion Office of 1764 became widespread, especially in the north. Integration and liturgical consolidation occurred only in the nineteenth century.

The book’s third and longest section, puzzlingly entitled ‘Anglican Identities’, is thematic, offering surveys of liturgy and worship, sermons, architecture, art, music and theology, together with studies of church parties and politics, religious societies, evangelicalism, and relations with European churches and Methodism. So far, so good, but there are obvious omissions. Why is there a chapter on Methodism but none on the Nonjurors (who, though they eventually died out, had significant influence on the development of the Anglican tradition), a chapter on Evangelicalism but not a separate chapter on the creation of a new and influential high-church party in the same period? Would the universities and the cathedrals, pre-eminent in the development and transmission of Anglican culture, thought and worship, not also have merited chapters? Does the selection say more about current fashion (less interested in high churchmanship and ‘elite’ institutions) than about the period in question? The quality is again mostly very high, though the extraordinary chapter Methodism disappointingly fails to tell the well-documented story of its separation, which grew during the Wesleys’ lifetimes and was completed after their deaths.

Louis Nelson shows how changes in both architectural style and the use of space within church buildings during worship ‘set the stage for the architectural and liturgical revolution of the Oxford Movement’. Nicholas Temperley documents significant innovations in Anglican church music: the development of Anglican chant, the rural tradition of ‘west gallery’ bands in the later eighteenth century, the beginnings of chanting in parish churches after 1790, the effects of the 1820 legal decision permitting hymns.

  1. C. D. Clark’s excellent chapter on Church, parties, and politics includes a seven-page outline of the history of high churchmanship in this period (and the continuing significance of high-church theology throughout the period means that high churchmen naturally feature prominently in B. W. Young’s chapter on theology). The terms ‘high church’ and ‘low church’, widely used from 1688 onwards, refer of course to those holding a high or a low doctrine of the Church, not to preferences for exotic or simple worship. The original low churchmen were liberals, not precursors of the evangelicalism that began to be recognized as a party in the 1770s: as Clark points out, though Evangelicals had little interest in ecclesiology, they were ‘not Low Churchmen’.

Writing about the Church of England and the European churches, Tony Claydon points to a ‘Romeward drift of Anglican identity’ after 1662. High churchmen increasingly asserted the Church of England’s catholic identity and distance from Continental Protestantism, though low churchmen remained loyal to foreign Protestants. However, Claydon argues, ‘each side felt the pull of the other’s European loyalties’, leading to ‘a marked reluctance to take arguments to their logical conclusion’: ‘The English establishment still saw itself both as part of a European Reformation, and as part of a universal episcopal Church,… valuing both identities’. Consequently, Anglicans ‘had sympathies with a very wide range of foreign Christians’ and ‘could never really conclude that their own communion was the sole source of inspiration, godliness, or even orthodoxy’.

Gareth Atkins’ account of evangelicalism gives striking testimony to differences between today’s Evangelicals and their Hanoverian predecessors: they ‘yielded nothing to High Churchmen in their love for the formularies’ and ‘differed doctrinally from some strands of pre-Tractarian High Churchmanship only on the details of justification by faith’. Late eighteenth-century Evangelicals were ‘increasingly disinclined to ride roughshod over the disciplines of the national Church’.

Against this background, it should be no surprise that so many of those whose Christian life was shaped by an evangelical religion of the heart that was doctrinally orthodox and loyal to the Prayer Book, Ordinal and Articles should have found their way, in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, into a more catholic expression of Anglicanism shaped by the Oxford Movement – or that, especially in North America, so many are making a similar journey today.

Despite some unevenness, and questions about coverage and proportionality, there is much in this second volume in the series that is very good indeed. Given its lasting usefulness, even its admittedly high hardback price might stand comparison with – for example – the pair of theatre tickets on which a similar sum might easily be spent.

Colin Podmore

 

2018-12-27T16:58:25+00:00 November 2018 Articles|