07 December 2012

Anglican studies (part-time): introduction to module content

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph; Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context

MTh Part-Time:

Friday, 7 December, 2012:

Outline of module content, methodologies and essays:

December 2012 to January 2013,

Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Weekend 1 (Friday 7 December 2012):

1.1, Who we are (1): an introduction to Anglicanism in Ireland today.
1.2, Who we are (2): an introduction to the Anglican Communion today.

Weekend 1 (Saturday 8 December 2012):

2.1, Early Irish Christianity and the Anglican reformations in the 16th century.
2.2, The Tudor, Stuart and Caroline Settlements.

Weekend 2 (Friday January 2013):

3.1, Contextual understandings (1): the emergence, role and authority of The Book of Common Prayer, the Homilies, Articles of Religion.
3.2, The Church of Ireland from the Penal Laws to Disestablishment, Independence and Partition.

Weekend 2 (Saturday January 2013):

4.1, The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the emergence of the Anglican Communion; mission, ecumenical engagement and the debates today.
4.2, Is there a way of talking about an ‘Anglican Culture’?

Module Content:

1, Christianity and Conflict in Ireland

● Acknowledging the conflicting interpretations of key moments in Irish church history:
● the mission of Patrick and early Irish Christianity;
● state-sponsored reform of the English and Irish churches in the 16th century;
● the Elizabethan and Caroline Settlements;
● Christianity and nationalisms;
● partition, conflict and peace;
● the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and its consequences.

2, The ‘Anglican Way’ in Ireland

● Anglican responses to the Missio Dei: Scripture, Worship and Communion as defining themes in contemporary Anglican self-understanding;
● contextual understanding of the emergence, role and authority of the Book of Common Prayer, the Homilies, Articles of Religion;
● the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the emergence of an Anglican Covenant; ● Anglicanism, ecumenical engagement and inter-religious dialogue.

3, Reconciliation in an Irish Context

● Theologies of reconciliation and the challenges of divided societies (M Volf, R Schreiter, J de Gruchy);
● postcolonial Biblical exegesis and liberation theology in contemporary global Anglicanism;
● understanding sectarianism and transforming societies;
● a reflection on the Hard Gospel Project.

4, Christianity and Reconciliation

● Analysis of Anglicanism’s capacities to contribute to public debates on reconciliation, and social and ecological justice;
● exploration of new ways for Anglicans to be church (e.g., L Mudge, R Page, M Grey);
● challenges facing the communion of global Anglicanism.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module students will be able to:

● understand critically the historical contexts that have shaped the current expressions of Irish Christianity.
● engage with the ways in which Anglican identity is articulated, especially through the liturgical life of the Church.
● recognise the distinctive challenges facing Irish Anglicans in articulating the ‘gospel of reconciliation’.
● engage critically with concerns of Anglicans in the Global South over the nature of Anglican koinonia.
● reflect on new proposals of how to be church.

Assessment: 2,500 words of coursework (e.g. essay or project as agreed by course leader).

Date for submission: 8 February 2013.

Required or Recommended Readings:

The reports and resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences.
The Anglican Covenant.
ARCIC agreed statements.
The Church of Ireland/Methodist Covenant.
The Hard Gospel Report.
The Porvoo Common Statement.

Paul Avis, The Identity of Anglicanism (London: T&T Clark, 2007).
Toby Barnard, W.G. Neely (eds), The Clergy and the Church of Ireland, 1000-2000 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006).
M.D. Chapman (ed), The Anglican Covenant (London: Mowbray, 2008).
N. Doe, An Anglican Covenant (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2008).
G.R. Evans, J.R. Wright (eds), The Anglican Tradition (London: SPCK, 1991).
Raymond Gillespie, W.G. Neely (eds), The Laity and the Church of Ireland, 1000-2000 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002).
P. Groves (ed), The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality (London: SPCK, 2008).
William Marshall, Scripture, Tradition and Reason, a selective view of Anglican theology through the centuries (Dublin: Columba Press/APCK, 2010). K. Stevenson, B. Spinks (eds), The Identity of Anglican Worship (Harrisburg: Morehouse, 1991).
M. Volf, Free of Charge (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005).
Keith Ward, A History of Global Anglicanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
Samuel Wells, What Anglicans Believe, An Introduction (Norwich: Canterbury, 2011).

Essay titles:

Drawing on the Thirty-nine Articles and The Book of Common Prayer (2004), discuss the relative influence of liturgy and doctrinal statements in the formation of an Anglican theological outlook.


Discuss Cranmer’s attitude to state control of the Church with that of the 19th century Tractarians, and relate these attitudes to the different political circumstances of their times.

In the light of the statement in the Preamble and Declaration that the Church of Ireland is the “Ancient Catholic and Apostolic Church of Ireland,” discuss whether ‘Celtic Spirituality’ is relevant to the life of the Church of Ireland today.


Compare and contrast the Eucharistic theologies and the Ecclesiologies of Richard Hooker and Jeremy Taylor.

Discuss the Anglican Covenant and whether it had potential for maintaining unity and diversity in the Anglican Communion.


Outline and evaluate the current debates and divisions within the Anglican Communion, explaining in particular the relevance of Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conferences.

Evaluate the contributions of missionaries, particularly from the Church of Ireland, to the expansion of Anglicanism and the development of the Anglican Communion, and assess whether their legacy has had an impact on current debates within Anglicanism.


Discuss whether the legacy of the Penal Laws and Establishment is a hindrance or a help to the present sense of identity and mission in the Church of Ireland.

Discuss whether the three Agreed Statements in the ARCIC Final Report (1982) have been successful in resolving the historic theological differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics?


Compare the extent of the agreement reached between the Porvoo Churches with that between the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland in the 2001 Covenant, and outline and discuss the relevance in each case of the historic episcopate as set out in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

Discuss whether there is a distinctive or identifiable ‘Church of Ireland identity’ and draw on modern political and social developments to illustrate and support your evaluation.


‘The problem in Ireland today is we have had too much religion and not enough Christianity.’ Discuss this proposition, and give and defend your views about whether the ‘Hard Gospel’ report answers this type of statement.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. This module outline was provided for part-time MTh students on 7 December 2012.

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