Anglican Foundations

January 2, 2019

Most committed Anglicans are very familiar with some of the most important foundational documents of our communion. In particular, the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles are regularly used and called upon as our defining, historical standards. This is good and right, but if these are the only two documents brought into conversation, it is actually quite inadequate—especially when we are looking beyond today’s constitutional standards and back to the standards and practices of the English church during the Reformation years.

 

From the 1530s to the 1570s, the English church produced a whole suite of doctrinally determinative documents. Alongside the BCP and Articles of Religion were homilies, catechisms, primers, Bibles, canon law, and more besides. And these were not merely parallel productions, but together with the BCP and Articles formed part of a thoughtfully interrelated matrix of resources that was designed to bring the Protestant faith to bear not just on the church services, but also on the raising of children, personal devotions, biblical interpretation, popular narrations of history, and every other facet of public and private life.

 

Anglican Foundations offers an introduction to the breadth of these documents, looking at both the different types, or ‘families’, as well as the individual authorised works. It sketches their different histories and particular purposes, and gives a select bibliography for further reading. This fills a significant gap in the available scholarship because while an enormous amount has been written on the different formularies over the centuries, there has never before been a volume systematically considering them all as part of a reforming package, or seeking to categorise and classify all of the sanctioned productions within a consistent framework. It is therefore hoped that Anglican Foundations will serve as an efficient and near-comprehensive access point for anyone wanting to explore the theological heritage of the Reformation Church of England from a documentary perspective.

 

"The need for a comprehensive guide to the sources of Anglican doctrine has never been greater than it is at the present time. Unfortunately many of them are virtually unknown, their importance is not understood and they are often hard to locate. Dr Patrick has done us a great service in compiling a detailed index of them, explaining what they are, why they matter and where they can be found. This book is an essential resource for anyone with a serious interest in Anglicanism, both past and present."

 

Rev Prof. Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School; Distinguished Professor of Historical Theology, Knox Theological Seminary; Director of Research, Latimer Trust

 

Anglican Foundations by Tim Patrick

 

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