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What Is Anglicanism (The Anglican Studies Series) [Paperback]

By Urban T. III Holmes (Author)
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Item description for What Is Anglicanism (The Anglican Studies Series) by Urban T. III Holmes...

(PUBMorehouse)An oldie but goody. Holmes does a remarkable job of explaining Anglican distinctives and how the middle way picks and chooses from among the best in Protestantism and Catholicism. His chapters range from the incarnation to Scripture, liturgy to spirituality. An engaging read! 95 pages, softcover.

Publishers Description
An introduction to the Anglican heritage. The early chapters explore the Anglican consciousness, authority within the Church, and how Anglicans read the Bible. Other chapters cover Anglican understandings of the Incarnation, sacraments, liturgy, the Episcopacy, pastoral care, spirituality, mission, church and state, and prophetic witness.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Morehouse Publishing
Pages   95
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.33"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1982
Publisher   Morehouse Publishing
Series  Anglican Study  
ISBN  0819212954  
ISBN13  9780819212955  

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Anglican
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Episcopalian > General

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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about What Is Anglicanism (The Anglican Studies Series)?

A possible answer, but not necessarily the only one...  May 30, 2004
The Episcopal church in the twentieth century took advantage of the general availability of publishing to good advantage, compiling through several auspices different collections and teaching series, the latest of which was only completed a few years ago. One of the better of the 'unofficial' collections of teaching texts is the Anglican Studies Series by Morehouse press, put out in the 1980s, which comprise several volumes that look at different aspects - theology, spirituality, history, and more. The introductory volume, if you will, to this series is this text, 'What is Anglicanism?' by bishop Urban T. Holmes.

Holmes, a respected educator and clergyman in the church, provided this personal set of reflections on the central question in response to the general need in a changing environment. This is not meant to be a comprehensive treatment - in a mere 100 pages of text, it could hardly hope for that. It is not heavy on history or theology, but rather in twelve chapters looks at some of the key issues involved in the church, devoting a few pages for each subject, such as liturgy, scripture, sacraments, spirituality, etc.

There is no strong dogmatic or doctrinal system that the Anglican church insists upon; indeed, even the liturgical standards around which much of the church coalesces are far more flexible than many realise. Thus, this is not a book that will tell the reader what he or she must believe, or must do, but begins to approach the question of what is unique about Anglicanism, a point of continuing inquiry among Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike.

Holmes wrote this text shortly after the adoption of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer by the Episcopal church and the decision to officially accept women's ordination; being an authority in the church hierarchy, he felt it important to be generally supportive of the moves the church was making in the face of dissatisfaction by many traditionalists.

One of the criticisms of this book is that it is not specific, and that it wanders a bit in its text. This is true, but as Holmes discusses the Anglican consciousness in the first chapter, this kind of ambiguity is inherent in the Anglican mind. One can think of mystics and authors who embody ideas quite apart from traditional Anglican dogma, but still embody an overall ethos - C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien. Anglicanism is also a system of acknowledging the incarnation, making Anglicanism a 'sensible' religion - not necessarily sensible in terms of being practical, but rather in terms of paying attention to the experiences of the senses - worship services that involve 'smells and bells' can testify to this feature.

Because Anglicanism does not have a set catechism or doctrinal system to which one must adhere, the statements in Holmes' text are subject to interpretation and change, but it does give a good introduction to the way Anglicans think.

An interesting but ultimately frustrating book!  Nov 17, 2002
This book is an effort by a noted Episcopalian educator and priest to describe his "understanding of what it means to be an Anglican." By "Anglican," Dean Holmes meant "nothing more than those Christians who worship according to some authorized edition of the Book of Common Prayer and who are in communion with the see of Canterbury." As an Anglican who is trying very hard to understand what is happening in the Anglican Communion today, I looked forward to reading this book. It is loosely organized into 12 chapters, each dealing with the author's assessment of the Anglican perspective on key issues in the church, such as authority, the Bible, the Liturgy, Episcopacy, and like topics. Each chapter could stand alone as an essay on the subject at issue, which makes reading the book less challenging than it might otherwise be. The author is articulate and his prose is generally understandable in a single reading. He delights in using vivid imagery to describe the theological topics he is examining; for example, Dean Holmes writes that "the Sacraments are to life in the church as sexual intercourse is to a marriage. They do not encompass it, they guarantee nothing, but out of them springs the possibility of lives changed by an intimacy with God at the deepest level." I was nevertheless very frustrated by the book. It is less a description of Anglicanism than its 20th century American incarnation; a better title would have been "What is Liturgical Liberalism?" The author neglects the Anglican tradition of the last five centuries as well as that evolving in the rest of the world in favor an "Anglican attitude" that is, as another writer has observed, "averse to the truth claims, disciplines, and passions that make for mission." It is also interesting that an author who repeatedly stresses the need for imaginative approaches to theology and "the penultimate nature of our answers to the character of God and his will for us" can speak so derisively of those who do not share his positions. Dean Holmes refers to the "simplemindedness of Pietism," characterizes the worship of Protestants as "homogenized," refers to those who think that the Gospel of Matthew could possibly support the infallibility of the Pope as "foolish," and labels as "absurd" the views of those who see in the book of Revelation prophecy about our present circumstances. So much for tolerance! The reader in search of an objective answer to the question of "What is Anglicanism" should, quite frankly, look elsewhere.
a very good little book  Apr 24, 2001
This is not an insubstantial book, in spite of its modest size of 95 pages. The author goes to some effort to dispel any notions and impressions that the Anglican Communion is socially and financially upper class. He also refrains from denominational triumphalism. There is a great deal of interesting reading on issues of missionary work, prophetic witness, the Sacrements, Bishopry and administration, and Biblical interpretation. The writing style is quite heavy but not overwhelmingly so, and is closely and coherently argued. Certain readers might find his exposition rather stiff and humorless, but very thoughtful and well researched.

This book was written I believe in 1982 and it reflects issues affecting the Anglican church at that time. It is due for an updated edition, in light of recent developments. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no commentary or opinion on the Anglican position - at least in Canada from my direct experience - on the issue of encouraging participation of Baptized but not Confirmed Christians in the Eucharist. The Anglicans have come in for some criticism on this matter, even from Pope John Paul II.

I enjoyed this book so much that I read it twice. For Anglicans and Episcopalians it is an excellent read, although it is not suited for novices to Christianity. Considering there is not a great deal of literature in this specific branch of worship, it is recommended.


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