The priesthood of Christ in Anglican doctrine and devotion, 1827-1900
This thesis traces the history of the interpretation of the doctrine of Christ as priest in the doctrine and devotion of representatives of the Church of England from the publication of Keble's Christian Year in 1827 to the Oxford Conference, 'Priesthood and Sacrifice', of 1899. Between these years the image of Christ as priest was a recurring motif in Anglican thought. Representatives of all shades of Churchmanship were remarkably united in a common enthusiasm for the image, but deeply divided over its interpretation. A composite historico-theological analysis of this hitherto uncharted theme unfolds not only the prevalence of this Christological motif in Anglican doctrine and devotion between these years, but also the potency of this image to shape, direct, and unify crucial features of Victorian religious development and theological controversy. The thesis argues, against the backcloth of a brief examination of the role, content, and significance of the doctrine in Anglican religion prior to 1827, that the prevalence and potency of the image of Christ as priest is to be accounted for as expressing a cardinal article of the Church of England's historic lex orandi. The fact that Tractarians, Evangelicals, the majority of Latitudinarians, Ritualists, Anglo-Catholics, and Biblical Scholars, united in adherence to this one thematic doctrinal image, but were, at times, bitterly divided over their understanding of it, indicates a focal point of Anglican religion, endorsed in its liturgy; namely, that Christ is "a great High Priest", through whom, and with whom, and in whom alone, the Church receives from God His life and gives t« God its life, in worship and service. The thesis seeks to recover the historic, distinctive prominence of this doctrinal and devotional theme in Anglican religion.