Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: The Oxford Movement Beyond Oxford

Table of Contents
Notes on contributors

Introduction; Stewart J. Brown and Peter Nockles

1. The Oxford Movement in an Oxford college: Oriel as the cradle of Tractarianism; Peter Nockles

Part I. Beyond England: The Oxford Movement in Britain, the Empire and the United States:
2. Isaac Williams and Welsh Tractarian theology; John Boneham
3. Scotland and the Oxford Movement; Stewart J. Brown
4. The Oxford Movement and the British Empire: Newman, Manning and the 1841 Jerusalem Bishopric; Rowan Strong
5. The Australian Bishops and the Oxford Movement; Austin Cooper
6. Anglo-Catholicism in Australia, c.1860–1960; David Hilliard
7. The Oxford Movement and the United States; Peter Nockles

Part II. The Oxford Movement and Continental Europe:
8. Europe and the Oxford Movement; Geoffrey Rowell
9. Pusey, Tholuck and the reception of the Oxford Movement in Germany; Albrecht Geck
10. The Oxford Movement: reception and perception in Catholic circles in nineteenth-century Belgium; Jan De Maeyer and Karel Strobbe
11. 'Separated brethren': French Catholics and the Oxford Movement; Jeremy Morris
12. The Oxford Movement, Jerusalem and the Eastern question; Mark Chapman
13. Ignaz von Döllinger and the Anglicans; Angela Berlis
14. Anglicans, Old Catholics and Reformed Catholics in late nineteenth-century Europe; Nigel Yates


Books like this so often present articles of uneven quality or even interest to the reader. After reading Romantic Catholics, for example, I was very interested in reading about French Catholics and the Oxford Movement; in that chapter (11), I learned that the same leaders of the Lamennais movements in France were anticipating a large scale conversion of Anglicans to Catholicism so that the Catholic Church would gain influence in England after the 1829 Emancipation (the same was true of Belgium).

The quality of most of these essays is very high and the authors pay attention to all the leaders of the Oxford Movement, not just John Henry Newman. And although they don't always make this distinction clear, they are often discussing the period after the Tracts ceased publication with the famous/infamous #90 and the Oxford Movement continued as a liturgical reform movement. That's the emphasis in Wales, Scotland, and Australia: the architecture, High Church liturgies, Altars, candles, incense, and other liturgical adaptations of the Book of Common Prayer, with a high view of the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, liturgical music and even processions and Benediction.

I was rather surprised that the chapter on the Oxford Movement in the United States did not mention St. Stephen's Church in Providence, Rhode Island. I visited it and have read about it--it was the very model of an Anglo-Catholic parish. I remember seeing pamphlets about the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross; daily mass was being celebrated in a side chapel when I visited once and the minister faced the altar during the canon.

Part II is a little less even in quality as the connections between German theologians and the Oxford Movement don't seem that strong. The ecumenical efforts between the Church of England and the Old Catholics were indeed facilitated by the spirit of the Oxford Movement.

As the editors note, there is no discussion of any influence of the Oxford Movement in Ireland and of course other parts of Europe are also ignored.

The prelude is one of the best essays as Nockles describes what made Oriel College the perfect breeding ground for the Oxford Movement--its classic High and Dry Anglicanism and conservative history, emphasis on Aristotelian realism, but most of all its program of tutors and its common room. The influence of tutor upon student, and tutor upon tutor, meant that friendships, combined with common interests and goals for the Church of England, built up a strong community that unfortunately was divided by the reaction to Tract 90 and the separation of friends into Catholics following Newman and Anglicans remaining with Pusey.

For a reader who knows the main history and personages of the Oxford Movement in Oxford this book is an excellent introduction to the story of its influence in the British Empire, the United States, and the European Continent.

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