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Historians and the Church of EnglandReligion and Historical Scholarship, 1870–1920$
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James Kirby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768159.001.0001

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The Learned Church

The Learned Church

(p.41) 3 The Learned Church
Historians and the Church of England

James Kirby

Oxford University Press

This chapter grounds Anglican historical scholarship in its institutional contexts: the Church of England and the universities. It begins by explaining the idea of the Church of England as a learned church and presenting contemporary testimony for its longevity. It then examines the learned church in its three principal spheres: the parish; the higher clergy (cathedrals, church libraries, bishops); and the universities. In the parish, the clergy combined scholarship with their daily vocation. The higher church appointments were often awarded on the basis of learning. The universities, particularly Oxford, Cambridge, and King’s College, London, were also connected to the learned church—and this connection helps explain the rise of modern history as a university discipline. It concludes by setting the learned church in comparative European context; and by reassessing the idea of the professionalization of history in this period.

Keywords:   parish, cathedral, university, Oxford, Cambridge, King’s College London, Church of England, professionalization, clerisy, scholarship

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