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Title: John Knox's superintendents : an enquiry into the origins of the office, its functions and later history
Author: Bodonhelyi, Jozsef
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1936
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In the history of the constitutional development of the Reformation, there is room for an enquiry into the office of Superintendents in Scotland. The office forms an important feature in the Church constitution of the first Reformation period in Scotland, which is embodied in the First Book of Discipline and more fully developed in the Acts of the General Assembly, and it is necessary that its place should be defined and its effectiveness estimated. The problem is to discover in what manner and to what extent at this early stage of Church constitutional development, when as yet no Presbyteries had been erected, the functions which were later taken over by these bodies were performed by the Superintendents, who were introduced primarily to help to establish the Reformation throughout the country, and whose office formed such an important link between the General Assembly and the particular churches. The consideration that the Superintendents, as office-bearers elected for life, discharged some of the duties of bishops, and the fact also that at different times, from the XVIIth century onward, they were claimed both by Presbyterians and Episcopalians, necessitate not only a careful study of the sphere of activity and authority of the Superintendents, but also an attempt to reveal the ideas/ ideas said influences leading up to the establishment of the office, and involve the question as to what extent the government of the Church at that time was fully Presbyterian. An interesting feature of the subject is that in Scotland, which has always been regarded as the home of Presbyterian doctrine and practice, Knox, a devoted disciple of Calvin, instituted such an office of higher, individual office-bearers. In more recent times, further importance and actual-ity has been lent to our subject by the dissatisfaction expressed by some with regard to the weakness of Presbytery control over ministers and congregations, and by the sugges-tion that this difficulty might be removed by the intro-duction of an office similar to that of Knox's Superintendents. And again, in connection with Union problems raised by negotiations as represented by the Lambeth Conferences, one might think of Superintendents as a means of rapproche-ment. A final, somewhat subjective reason for undertaking this research lies in the fact that the Hungarian Reformed Church, though on definite Presbytero-Calvinistic grounds, for reasons of convenience has retained a similar office in that of its 'Bishops'. Our method of treating the problems stated will be to divide the work into three parts. In the first part, dealing with the origins of the office, we shall examine the/ the ideas and influence of the leading Reformers and the practice of similar offices in other countries, which might have affected Knox in instituting the office of Superintendent. In the second part, we shall make a detailed examination of the office of Superintendent as it existed in practice in Scotland between the years 1560 and 1572, And in the third part, we shall give a brief comparative account of the development of the Church con-stitution after 1572, noting the changes which took place up to 1610, when the period of the First Episcopacy began, and observing the decline and actual cessation of the office of Superintendents.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available