The Church in Society
Had Frederick Denison Maurice himself died late in 1847, his career retrospectively would have looked like a steady crescendo of recognition and success. What later generations were to regard as his most important work of theology had been published, and the main lines of his thought had been laid down in what was already a large body of work. He appeared as an original, yet largely conservative, defender of the Anglican settlement. Yet his career was about to enter its most turbulent period. Three public controversies, differing widely in scope and character, were to mark this middle period of his life, beginning with the movement called Christian Socialism, which ran from 1848 to approximately 1854, continuing through his dismissal from King’s College for alleged heterodoxy in 1853, and on to his quarrel with Henry Mansel in 1859–1860 over the doctrine of Revelation. The lasting effect of all three of these controversies was to radicalize Maurice’s subsequent reputation. This chapter examines Maurice’s Christian Socialism and the social implications of his view of the Church.
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