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Title: Alexander Forbes of Brechin (1817-1875) : the first Tractarian bishop
Author: Strong, R. G. W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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Alexander Forbes became the very first Tractarian bishop when he was consecrated Bishop of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1847. Consequently, he is an important historical figure in the history of the nineteenth-century Catholic revival and the Scottish Episcopal Church. Forbes was a leading example to many Tractarians and Anglo-Catholics in the Episcopal Church, and in the Church of England. He also became well-known to various Roman Catholic Churchmen in Europe through his work for Catholic reunion in the 1860's. As bishop and also incumbent of the Episcopalian congregation in the newly industrialized and urbanized Dundee, Forbes developed a Tractarian slum ministry unique among Anglican bishops in Britain. It was the influence of the Oxford Movement during the early 1840's that directed Forbes' social commitment towards the labouring poor, coupled with his inherited Tory paternalism. The Oxford Movement also imparted to Forbes a strong belief in the importance of dogmatic theology, which he believed to be a remedy for the Church against the religious doubt and secularism of the mid-Victorian period. In 1857, the Tractarian dogmatics of his primary charge initiated the eucharistic controversy within the Episcopal Church and divided Episcopalian High Churchmen and Tractarians. In 1860, failure to condemn Forbes at his heresy trial permitted Tractarianism to continue to be propagated within the Episcopal Church. Between 1862 and 1864, Forbes' leadership in his own Church was broadened by his campaign to retain the native Scottish Communion Office. By this campaign, Forbes opposed some of the major elements of anglicization in the Episcopal Church, and reunited Tractarians and northern Episcopal High Churchmen in defence of the Office.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available