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James UssherTheology, History, and Politics in Early-Modern Ireland and England$
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Alan Ford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274444.001.0001

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Ussher and the Defence of Episcopacy

Ussher and the Defence of Episcopacy

(p.223) 10 Ussher and the Defence of Episcopacy
James Ussher

Alan Ford (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In 1640, Ussher went to England for the first time in fourteen years. Though his ostensible reason was to present the subsidies of the Irish convocation to the King, it is clear that his visit was also a product of the new political environment in England, following the King's problems with Scotland and the resultant recall of parliament. Ussher soon fitted back in to his routine of study in Oxford and Cambridge, but he was also consulted by leading figures in London on important ecclesio-political issues. In particular, following the meeting of the Long Parliament, Ussher came increasingly to be seen as someone whose learning — particularly his study of the early church father, Ignatius — could offer a way out for those moderate protestants seeking to replace the Laudian episcopate with an alternative, without opting for presbyterianism. In 1641, Ussher produced for private circulation his Reduction of Episcopacy, a draft constitution for a new Church of England which sought to combine bishops with synods. In the end, the growing extremism meant that such a compromise had no hope of success.

Keywords:   Short Parliament, Long Parliament, Ignatius, Reduction of episcopacy

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