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The Oxford Movement

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 13 April 2006

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Oxford Movement in the Church of England in the 19th century. Cardinal John Henry Newman is perhaps the most significant Christian theologian of the nineteenth century. He began as an evangelical, becoming a High Anglican before converting to Roman Catholicism in 1845. His is the story of the diversity of Victorian religious life. But his path also marks the waning of the ideas of Protestant nationhood at the close of the eighteenth century and the reaffirmation of the Catholic tradition at the turn of the twentieth century.

For over a decade, between 1833 and 1845, Newman and his fellow travellers, the Oxford Movement, argued that the Church of England was a holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They sought to assert the Catholic nature of their Church just as secularism, liberalism, non-conformism, and even Roman Catholicism, seemed to threaten her. They published tracts, preached and brought their social mission to some of the poorest urban parishes.

Why between 1833 and 1845 was the voice of reaction such a loud one? What was the Oxford Movement and what motivated them? How did they present their ideas to the Anglican clergy at large and what did the clergy make of them? And why did they leave such a powerful legacy for the Church of England, its character and its churches?

With Sheridan Gilley, Emeritus Reader in Theology at the University of Durham; Frances Knight, Senior Lecturer in Church History at the University of Wales, Lampeter; Simon Skinner, Fellow and Tutor in History at Balliol College, Oxford.

  • Further Reading

    John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Penguin, 1994)

    John Henry Cardinal Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (University of Notre Dame Press, 1990)

    Simon Skinner, Tractarians and the 'Condition of England ': the Social and Political Thought of the Oxford Movement (Oxford University Press, 2004)

    Frances Knight, The Nineteenth Century Church and English Society (Cambridge University Press, 1995)

    Sheridan Gilley, Newman and his Age (Longman, 1990)

    The Irish in Britain, 1815-1939, edited by Sheridan Gilley and Roger Swift (London, 1989)

    Sheridan Gilley, Victorian Churches and Churchmen (Catholic Record Society, 2005)

    Ian Ker, The Catholic Revival in English Literature, 1845-1961: Newman, Hopkins, Belloc, Chesterton, Greene, Waugh (University of Notre Dame Press, 2003)

    Ian Ker, The Achievement of John Henry Newman (Collins, 1990)

Credits

Presenter
Melvyn BRAGG
Producer
Ruth WATTS

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