13 September 2018

BOOK: Neil Sydney PATTERSON, Ecclesiastical Law, Clergy and Laity : A History of Legal Discipline and the Anglican Church (London: Routledge, 2018). ISBN 9780815352648, £92.00

(Source: Routledge)

Routledge has published a new book on the history of legal discipline in the Anglican Church.


Discipline in an ecclesiastical context can be defined as the power of a church to maintain order among its members on issues of morals or doctrine. This book presents a scholarly engagement with the way in which legal discipline has evolved within the Church of England since 1688. It explores how the Church of England, unusual among Christian churches, has come to be without means of effective legal discipline in matters of controversy, whether liturgical, doctrinal, or moral. The author excludes matters of blatant scandal to focus on issues where discipline has been attempted in controversial matters, focussing on particular cases. The book makes connections between law, the state of the Church, and the underlying theology of justice and freedom. At a time when doctrinal controversy is widespread across all Christian traditions, it is argued that the Church of England has an inheritance here in need of cherishing, and sharing with the universal Church.


Revd Neil Patterson (MA BD) is Director of Vocations and Ordinands (Hereford) and a Member of the General Synod and the Ecclesiastical Law Society. He has published on ecclesiastical issues in books and periodicals.


Chapter 1: Toleration and its Effects
Chapter 2: The Old Discipline Lingers
Chapter 3: A Century of Doctrine Trials 1775-1871
Chapter 4: Law Defied – the Ritualists
Chapter 5: The Yearning to Fence the Altar
Chapter 6: Reluctance to Discipline
Chapter 7: The Lingering Temptation

More information here

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