Oxford University Press has launched the first multi-volume history of worldwide Anglicanism by a major university press. The Oxford History of Anglicanism covers the growth of worldwide Anglicanism in five volumes supported by 100 scholars. Three volumes have appeared already and a further two are due later this year.

Professor Rowan Strong conceived the series, oversaw the ten-year project, worked with the individual editors, and editing the third volume. He is a member of the Anglican Church of Australia and is professor of Church history at Murdoch University in Perth.

The study examines how Anglican identity developed and its historical influence in the past six centuries. It explores not just the ecclesiastical and theological aspects of global Anglicanism, but also its political, social, economic, and cultural influences.

The Rev. Canon John Gibaut, the Anglican Communion’s director for unity, faith, and order, spoke at the launch.

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“There has been a flourishing of scholarly reflection on various elements of the Anglican tradition in recent decades: our history, ecclesiology, theology, theological methodology, canon law, liturgy, the quest for holiness and so much more,” he said. “The most comprehensive contributions are in these three — soon to be five — volumes of The Oxford History of Anglicanism.”

Gibaut said the context for the volume “is one of crisis that goes to the core of what it means to be Anglican, what it means to be [the] Church and a communion of churches in the Anglican tradition. The strains that signal new limits to diversity are indicators of a crisis of Anglican identity, both within provincial churches, and between them.”

Each volume costs $135 (£95), and Gibaut appealed for assistance to place the series in theological libraries in the Global South: “From the perspective of the Anglican Communion, I would urge that arrangements be made that these volumes find their way into our theological libraries, so that as they disclose our common past, they might nourish the seeds of our global destiny.”

Anglican Communion News Service

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