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The Protestant Face of Anglicanism [Paperback]

By Paul F. M. Zahl (Author)
Our Price $ 14.03  
Retail Value $ 16.50  
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Item Number 143386  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   120
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.31"
Weight:   0.43 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 4, 1997
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802845975  
EAN  9780802845979  

Availability  148 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 03:03.
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Item Description...
This volume tells a story that is virtually unknown today: The Protestant background and history of Anglican Christianity. Through a fascinating exploration of the development of Anglicanism and its wider Protestant context, Paul Zahl attempts to show-contrary to the opinion of many present-day "Anglican writers"-that Anglicanism is not just a via media (between Rome and Geneva, for example) but has been stamped decisively by classic Protestant insights and concerns. He also discusses the implications of Anglicanism's Protestant history for our own age, suggesting that this dimension has an important contribution to make to the worldwide Christian community in the new millennium.

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More About Paul F. M. Zahl

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul F.M. Zahl lives in Florida with his wife Mary. He is the author of several books, including "Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life" (2007), and the voice of "PZ's Podcast"

Paul F. M. Zahl currently resides in the state of Alabama.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Protestant   [967  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Anglican   [550  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Episcopalian > General   [406  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > General   [754  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A book about the lost roots of Anglicanism  Dec 22, 2005
The Anglican Theologian J.I. Packer once said, "The problem with Anglicanism is that it is affectionately being lied away." Contrary too popular belief, prior to the Oxford movement all of Anglicanism saw itself as distinctly Protestant (even Newmann). Sadly, since the 19th century Protestantism has seemed to have been erased from the Anglican memory. There are many books from an Anglo-Catholic perspective. Paul is trying, and he says this in the book, to give the other side of the story. He does it brilliantly, succinctly, and in away that keeps you glued to the book. If you want to learn about the roots of Anglicanism, ITS REAL PROTESTANT ROOTS, this book is a must read.
Theological Iconoclasm  Oct 10, 2005
This book is a manifesto that intends "to restore the distinctly Protestant face of Anglicanism" (7), despite the fact that Anglicanism has always understood itself as a reformed Catholicism first, its relation to continental Protestanism being depending upon the former. Zahl's attempted restoration aims for much, for it aims at undercutting the self-understanding that Anglicans have always had (regardless of the various shades of understanding that "catholicity" has embodied in Anglicanism - as in the rest of the Church); in short, Zahl attempts a complete recreation of Anglican identity.

The sources that he argues against throughout this work are predominately secondary sources (those that he dislikes the most are almost all found in a fairly thick volume titled The Study of Anglicanism) and his arguments are largely constructed by secondary sources against one another. Such a method reflects neither a mature nor thoughtful scholarship but, instead, a rather peurile approach to a fairly significant claim: that Anglicanism isn't what we think it is.

One must wonder: why doesn't Zahl engage classic Anglican thinkers - as well as the medieval theologians and the Church Fathers? He seems neither to know classic Anglican thinkers such as Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes nor to know that these persons built upon a legacy of 1,500 years, for any engagement with Anglican theology must be an engagement with the Church Fathers and the medieval doctors, especially St. Thomas Aquinas (who, although he does not hold the place for Anglicans that he holds for Roman Catholics, is nonetheless quite influential). Anyone can quote secondary sources, especially when they are all contained in a single volume! It takes a far greater and far deeper level of reading to get into the very foundation of any theological movement for the foundation is what grounds the worldview. It means getting into theologians as well as liturgies and hymns, art and poetry. He does none of this.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Zahl writes that Anglicans have never done any hard theological work. Yet, this is clearly not the case: Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity was the greatest consideration of the nature of the Church during the Reformation; the King James Bible and the Revised Standard Version are both products of Anglicanism; Archbishop William Laud was a tremendous patron of the sciences; the great Catholic "revivals" (which Zahl has a clear dislike for) in the 19th century were initiated by scholars at Oxford and Cambridge; the late 19th century Biblical and Patristic scholarship of Bishops Westcott, Lightfoot and Hort is still used today; Archbishop William Temple and Austin Ferrar were both invited to give the Gifford Lectures in their lifetimes (and the Gifford Lectures are among the most prestigious philosophical lectures in the world); Evelyn Underhill's great work Mysticism quite literally recreated the field of religious studies in the early 20th century; C. S. Lewis was one of the greatest apologists of the 20th century. To claim that Anglicanism lacks substantive theology or that Anglicans have never done any hard theological work fails to look at the facts.

Bizarre theological assertions further injure his case. For example, he writes that creation "is not the starting point of Christianity" (73) - a point that is hard to square with the fact that the Bible not only begins with creation, but claims that creation is good. It is this latter point, in particular, that has historically held a very strong place in the Christian imagination. Against heretics on the one hand, who denigrated creation (especially the body) and against philosophers on the other hand who saw creation as an accidental emanation from God, the *ethos* that the first few chapters of Genesis gives is one that flies in the face of what Zahl wants to claim.

This repudiation of the goodness of the created order continues when he writes that "The world on its own terms is no canvass for a portrait of God that is either unified of compassionate" (74). The Psalmic (and therefore Patristic, medieval and Anglican) notion that "the heavens are telling the glory of God" is consequently repudiated. Yet, Christians have historically believed that in addition to the Scriptures, one could turn to "the book of nature" and see something of God revealed there as well. Although the latter has always been subsumed to the former, it has never been absent. To undercut creation is to undercut the God that creates - and this is no small matter!

In repudiating so much of Anglicanism then, "the Protestant face of Anglicanism" comes across as being entirely out of touch with Anglicanism's 2,000 year history. If this work is truly intended to "restore" something, one must wonder how this is going to take place as it seems both historically uninformed and theologically violent. This is book that restores nothing but attempts to destroy much, and will therefore cause considerable confusion. This is a book whose outlook will eventually destroy itself.
An Indistinct Face  Nov 24, 2001
This was a very disappointing book. Although I'm an English Use Catholic (a species of Anglican the author barely mentions and then not by name), I'm willing to concede that the English Reformation had a "Protestant face." But Dean Zahl fails to convince that this Protestant face has endured or has ever affected the catholicity of the Anglican faith in any essential way.

"The Protestant Face of Anglicanism" has many flaws. Polemical in tone, strident in style, unnuanced in its history, and often purple in its prose, its brevity doesn't allow the author to make a substantial case for much of anything. The book also suffers from a lack of precision in crucial definitions. For instance, early on in the book, Zahl posits a distinction between "protestants" and "evangelicals." But thereafter, he uses the two terms as synonyms.

The lack of documentation was irritating. Many of Zahl's assertions about English history and the development of Anglican theology were uncited, so there's no way to check his sources or read further. Even fascinating tidbits -- like the complicity of Thomas More in the assassination of William Tyndale -- were uncorroborated. That's too bad. More's one sacred cow that could use a dose of real history.

Interesting but too polemical  Feb 14, 2001
Zahl does an interesting historical analysis of the rise of Anglicanism, the Church of England, and analyzes the strong Protestant forces that have kept it together. I agree that many today are blinded by the Protestant reality of Anglicanism, and that it owes a great deal to that movement.

Unfortunately, while Zahl does state he does not want to be "anti-Catholic", he ends up being just that. His greatest error is his broad-brush theological characterization of the difference between Protestant and Catholic, namely, that the latter is "incarnational" and the other is "atonement" based. While there is some general truth to that, one may ask if both have merit, for he clearly has problems with the incarnational perspective. By "incarnational", Zahl refers specifically to the Orthodox (not even Catholic!) view of theosis. If he wants to do that, then he needs to see how strongly catholic even Luther was and even reflected strong theosis sympathies, as shown by the Helsinki school of Lutheran study. In the end, Zahl is simply being polemical at this point.

I agree, as an evangelical protestant Anglican, that Anglicanism is not a "third way", but rather a Protestant faith with an Episcopal, historic model. Nonetheless, there is ALSO a "Catholic" face to Angilcanism, whether he (or I!) like it or not. Moreover, he uses "Protestant" and "evangelical" very loosely and I was often unclear what his definitions were.

In the end, the book captured my interest, but was thankfully short. I got this feeling it was written by someone who was annoyed by Anglo-catholic elements in his denomination and wanted to write against them. I also found the dearth of discussion around third world Anglicanism (a VERY protestant and evangelical movement!) to imply that England, and to a lesser extent, the US, was where one discussed "Anglicanism". This is a mistake.


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