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A study of the origin of Scottish Presbyterianism (1560-1638)

Harada, Koji (2010) A study of the origin of Scottish Presbyterianism (1560-1638). MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This dissertation seeks to explore the origin of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Hence, every effort has been made to describe the process of the emergence of the Presbyterian government and its development during the period from the 1520s to the point before the Second Reformation of 1638. This study covers the following main aspects: first, the goals of the Scottish Reformation; secondly, the grounds on which the General Assembly championed the Presbyterian system; thirdly, the process of how the Second Book of Discipline was formed; fourthly, the contents of the Second Book of Discipline; and fifthly, how presbyteries developed between 1581 and 1638. It should be remembered, of course, that as a result of the government’s overall preference for an Episcopalian system, the General Assembly’s desire for Presbyterianism met with resistance and on occasions, substantial setbacks until final success was achieved in 1690. This study aims to trace the emergence and development of Presbyterianism in Scotland. As such, chapters follow an essentially chronological pattern, covering the key persons, pressures, struggles and events which deeply affected the way in which the Reformation succeeded after several attempts to overcome the problems for introducing the Presbyterian system in the Church. Several approaches are employed in this study. The modern approach to the Scottish Reformation is various indeed. W. Ian P. Hazlett offers the best useful summary concerning its method of approach classified into eight types: first, Catholic perspectives on the Scottish Reformation; secondly, Lutheran roots and emphasis on the Scottish Reformation; thirdly, influence of Calvinism on Presbyterian church polity; fourthly, the simple political motivation for the Reformation; fifthly, Queen Mary’s religious policy; sixthly, re-examination from contemporary local and urban contexts; seventhly, the Gaelic perspective on the Scottish Reformation; and eighthly, application of Max Weber’s thesis of the pairing of Calvinism and Capitalism for the Scottish Reformation. This study attempts to synthesize the third, fourth and sixth approaches mentioned in Hazlett’s classification. In the study of church polity, we have to identify what were the ‘means’ and ‘ends’ of that polity. These are inevitably related to each other, as the form of church government (such as its ‘system’ or ‘construction’) is designed as a means to accomplish particular ends. It is important therefore, to identify the goals of the Reformation before we proceed to discuss the form of Presbyterian church government which grew out of it. Hence, chapter one deals with the primary goals at the time of the Reformation in connection with the church government which the Reformers introduced. Subsequently, chapter two describes the process of how the Second Book of Discipline was formed and what its contents were. The third chapter focuses on the process of the institution of the Presbyterian government after its approval by the General Assembly in 1578. Finally, chapter four focuses on the development of the presbyteries between 1581 and 1638. This study will synthesize various views on early Presbyterianism in Scotland up to 1638 to provide a historically reliable account of this formative period in Scottish church history. (quotation from 'Introduction' of this thesis)

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Presbyterianism. Presbytery. Eldership. Kirk Session. Second Book of Discipline. Exercise. Superintendent. Scottish Church History, the late sixteenth century in Scotland. the early seventeenth century in Scotland. church polity. church governmemnt. the office of superintendent.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: McIntosh, Dr. John and Hazlett, Dr. Ian
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Rev Koji Harada
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-1655
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:44
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1655

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