The eucharistic theologies of nineteenth century Anglican and Lutheran repristination movements compared

Naumann, J.C. (1990) The eucharistic theologies of nineteenth century Anglican and Lutheran repristination movements compared. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The existence of movements in nineteenth century Lutheranism and Anglicanism to revive (repristinate) the doctrines and practices of a former age is well known. The scope of this dissertation only includes aspects of the eucharistic theologies of these movements, and then only as taught by a few representative theologians. The two repristination movements that are compared in this respect are the Missouri Synod of Lutheranism (the Confessional Lutherans - whose main theologian was C.F.W.Walther) and the Oxford Movement in Anglicanism (the Tractarians - whose main theologian of the Eucharist was E.B.Pusey). To investigate the eucharistic theologies of these movements, major writings on the doctrine of the Eucharist by these chosen representatives were studied and compared. An attempt was made to discover how close these theologians came to sharing a common eucharistic theology. The eucharistic writings of the two movements were found to be similar in their dependence upon quotations from historic eucharistic literature to promote orthodoxy in the nineteenth century. But on the Lutheran side material from the sixteenth century was usually reissued without comment in compilation volumes. Although Walther and others usually systematised Reformation-era material for easier reference in the nineteenth century, few additions or reinterpretations were thought necessary. On the Anglican side, Pusey quoted from the early Church Fathers extensively, often with little comment or addition, but was compelled to reinterpret much eucharistic material. This is because the task before the Oxford Movement, of promoting an orthodoxy which was not recognised by many Anglicans, required creative writing which Lutheran Confessionalism did not. For the Tractarians, Anglican doctrinal material from sixteenth century had to be reinterpreted to conform with the desired orthodoxy. Unlike the Confessional Lutherans with their sixteenth century material on the Eucharist completely usable, Tractarians such as Pusey and Wilberforce had to struggle with eucharistic concepts in the authoritative writings available to them and, through a considerable amount of creative thinking on their part, articulate a eucharistic theology which conformed to their ideal of catholic doctrine. Hence a fuller body of nineteenth century eucharistic thought and writing is evident from the Tractarian side than from the Lutheran. The method of investigation consisted of analysing certain issues involved in eucharistic theology and comparing the treatments of those issues in authoritative Lutheran and Anglican sources. How and why the treatments resembled and differed from one another was explored. Particular attention was paid to the doctrine of the Real Presence, because of the influence of that doctrine upon other eucharistic issues and questions. Because, unlike the Confessional Lutherans, the Tractarians received a hostile reaction from within their church to their eucharistic theology, a sample was included of some of the arguments presented by Anglican opposition to the eucharistic theology of the Oxford Movement. It was discovered that the similarity between the goals of the Anglican and Lutheran repristinationists to restore what they believed to be true catholic orthodoxy included a corresponding similarity in many of their theological presuppositions. For the most part they shared a conservative reverence for the Bible, the creedal formularies of Christian antiquity and of certain Reformation formularies. A completely unified approach to the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist did not materialise; yet despite the independence of their respective inquiries, the Anglican and Lutheran repristinationists were discovered to maintain strikingly similar positions on several issues of eucharistic theology. Most notable was the congruence of their teachings concerning the Real Presence. Diversity between the two movements was encountered concerning the language and philosophy behind other issues such as that of eucharistic sacrifice. Nevertheless, such a measure of doctrinal congruence concerning the frequently devisive subject of the Lord's Supper was encouraging to discover. The measure of congruity achieved by the independent efforts of these Lutherans and Anglicans of the nineteenth century, as they tried to repristinate purity of doctrine and orthodoxy, may constitute a superior model for modern-day ecumenical endeavours. This is especially the case if the route to Christian unity via a tolerance of contradictory doctrines around the eucharistic table threatens to collapse under the weight of its own implausibility.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: White, Rev. Dr. Gavin
Date of Award: 1990
Depositing User: Angi Shields
Unique ID: glathesis:1990-3890
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 11:33
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2013 11:33

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