Wednesday, September 08, 2004


A recent essay entitled "Anglicans love that musty patristic smell ..." on the Pontificator weblog elicited this comment by William Tighe on the history of the term "Anglican":
The first use of the word "Anglicanism" according to the Oxford English Dictionary [OED] was around 1838, in a satirical reference to the Oxford Movement by the Rev'd Charles Kingsley, but shortly after it was used several times by J. H. Newman (the future Catholic cardinal) to characterize the via media between the Reformation and Rome than he and the other Tractarians held to constitute the rationale of the Church of England and its offshoots (which is ironic, in that it was Kingsley's later attack on the Catholic Newman as a liar that was to evoke the latter's Apologia Pro Vita Sua).

However, there was one earlier use of the word "Anglicanisme" to characterize the Church of England's theological stance that the OED overlooked. It occurs in the Catholic polemical (anti-protestant) work of one Thomas Harrab entitled Tessaradelphia, Or the Four Bretherne, the four being Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism and "Anglicanisme." He characterized "Anglicanism" as a species of Protestantism having no one man as its author or teacher (unlike Calvinism or Lutheranism) but rather as resting upon and set forth by "the Prince and the Parliament." Insofar as Anglicanism has historically beeen characterized by Erastianism (whether Erastianism properly speaking, as in the "Established Church" of England, or "social Erastianism," as in (P)ECUSA [Protestant Episcopal Church USA] as "the Church of the Establishment") it seems an apt description.
(emphasis added)
(Gratia tibi for the notice, Mr. Sean Fagan)

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