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Tractarians and the 'Condition of England'The Social and Political Thought of the Oxford Movement$
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S. A. Skinner

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273232.001.0001

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High Politics: Church and State

High Politics: Church and State

(p.87) 2 High Politics: Church and State
Tractarians and the 'Condition of England'

S. A. Skinner (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that tractarian attitudes to establishment marked a breach with the social utilitarianism which they felt had corrupted the older high-church position, and signified a dynamic conception of the church's function in society. The conviction that the catholic Church of England had been compromised by the erastian pretensions of a liberal state sent up clouds of anti-establishment chaff among supporters of tractarianism. Tractarians emphasised the independence of the church from the state; the derivation of its authority not from the ‘accident’ of national establishment but from the ‘plain historical fact’ of the apostolic succession. A specific measure of the differences between old high-church and later tractarian reviewers lies in the British Critic's changing attitudes to Thomas Chalmers, whose celebrated London lectures of April and May 1838 confirmed his reputation as the principal advocate of national establishments. This chapter also considers the views of John Keble regarding the separation of church and state.

Keywords:   tractarianism, politics, church and state, Church of England, Thomas Chalmers, social utilitarianism, British Critic, John Keble

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