tractarianism

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tractarianism was the name applied to the first stage of the Oxford movement, derived from a series of Tracts for the Times written between 1833 and 1841 by a group of Oxford high churchmen, including Hurrell Froude, Keble, Newman, Pusey, and Isaac Williams. Their context, signalled by Keble's Oxford assize sermon on ‘National Apostasy’ (14 July 1833), was alarm at the onslaught of Roman catholicism, dissent, and ‘liberalism’, focused by the Whig government's abolition of ten Irish bishoprics in what appeared to be a revolution in the relations between church and state. Tractarians insisted on the church's authority to teach catholic truth to the English as the divinely commissioned agent of Christ and his apostles, and their exploration of this authority began a movement which decisively affected English Christianity's understanding of sanctity, worship, and religious practice. The furore provoked by Newman's Tract 90, on the Thirty-Nine Articles, ended the series and his reception into the Roman catholic church closed the tractarian phase, but their influence set the Anglican pace for the rest of the century.

Clyde Binfield

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TRACTARIANISM

A doctrinal system held by a group of Anglican clergymen who led the oxford movement, intended to revive the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England. The name was derived from the widely circulated, extremely influential tracts or pamphlets propagating their ideas that were published from 1833 to 1841. The leaders, newman, keble, R. H. froude, and pusey, opposed the theological liberalism and erastianism of their age, and reaffirmed the divine authority of the Church of England as a branch of the historically continuous Catholic Church. They stressed the importance of the sacraments as indispensable means of grace, and insisted on the authority of the bishops as successors of the Apostles. Tractarianism met opposition from political and religious leaders, principally for its alleged tendencies toward Rome. A major crisis occurred with the publication of Newman's Tract 90, which maintained that the thirty-nine Articles were not directed principally against Roman dogmas, but against abuses in the Roman system. When the bishops repudiated this tract, Newman, W. G. ward, and others submitted to Rome, but the movement under Pusey and Keble survived to have a profound influence on the Church of England (see anglicanism; high church).

Bibliography: j. walsh and c. haydon, The Church of England, c. 1689-c. 1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism (Cambridge, England 1993). national

[t. s. bokenkotter/eds.]

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Tractarianism another name for Oxford Movement; from the title Tracts for the Times.

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Tractarianism See Oxford Movement