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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 Nation

The Nation

(p.75) 4 The Nation
Historians and the Church of England

James Kirby

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to the nation and nationality—leading themes in the work of Anglican historians. It shows that these historians believed religion and nationality to be intrinsically, even providentially, connected. The work especially of William Stubbs, E. A. Freeman, and J. R. Green saw in English history a constant struggle for national independence, above all from the Papacy. They were particularly interested in the origins of English Christianity and, as Teutonists, they rejected the old idea that it derived from a pre-Saxon ‘ancient British Church’: a move that inadvertently brought into question the status of the churches of Ireland and Wales. They and other historians such as J. N. Figgis and Mandell Creighton interpreted the Reformation (English and European) as the result not of doctrinal differences but a rising national spirit. The chapter concludes by reflecting on empire and nationality.

Keywords:   nation, national identity, Teutonism, English, British, race, empire, Mandell Creighton, E. A. Freeman, J. N. Figgis

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