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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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Conclusion: History, Theology, and Politics in Ireland and Britain

Conclusion: History, Theology, and Politics in Ireland and Britain

(p.272) 12 Conclusion: History, Theology, and Politics in Ireland and Britain
James Ussher

Alan Ford (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Ussher did much to create an intellectual basis for Irish protestantism, both through his polemic against popery, which marked the Church of Ireland as firmly anti-Catholic, and through his historical researches, which provided the Church with a clear sense of its own legitimacy and identity. Ussher thus helped to create an Irish protestant sense of history that sustained them from Richard Cox in the 17th century down to the classic history of the Church of Ireland in the 20th century. He also contributed many of the attributes and ambiguities which characterize Irish protestantism: strongly evangelical and hostile to Arminianism or high churchmanship; politically loyal to the English crown, but proud of the independence of the Church of Ireland; English in culture, but tracing their religious roots back to the Gaelic church; and fiercely anti-Catholic, but living in a Catholic country. Ussher also demonstrated how a protestant Irishman could effortlessly move across the Irish Sea and participate in the ecclesiastical politics of England, brining to it a markedly different perspective. Given his immense learning and considerable scholarship, Ussher had a considerable reputation after his death. Indeed, such as the esteem in which he was held that his posthumous endorsement was much sought after, as high and low churchmen claimed his support. This ambiguity was partly a result of Ussher's personality, which was, for the most part, mild and unchallenging, but it was also a product of his authorial style, which often preferred to quote sources rather than provide his own definitive interpretation.

Keywords:   anti-Catholicism, protestant identity, reputation, historiography, personality

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