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Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  32 reviews
What is Anglicanism? How is it different from other forms of Christianity, and how did it come to have so many different versions throughout the world? Although originally united by location and a common belief, Anglicanism has gradually lost its pre-eminence as the English state church due to increasing pluralisation and secularization. While there are distinctive themes ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published July 27th 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2006)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #149), Mark Chapman
What is Anglicanism? How is it different from other forms of Christianity, and how did it come to have so many different versions throughout the world? Although originally united by location and a common belief, Anglicanism has gradually lost its pre-eminence as the English state church due to increasing pluralisation and secularization. While there are distinctive themes and emphases that emerge from its early h
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
From the blurb, I expected this short book to be about what Anglicans believe and how Anglicanism differs from, say, Catholicism, Presbyterianism, or Calvinism. Instead this is almost entirely a history book, full of dates and names of important people throughout Anglican history. I have no doubt that it was comprehensive, but it wasn't very interesting and wasn't what it claimed to be.

The book also assumes a high level of knowledge before reading, which seems contrary to the spirit of a 'very s
Zack Clemmons
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
God save us from "Beauty in the Brokenness" sentimentality, but dear God please bring some beauty out of this mess.
Nick Imrie
Mar 14, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
It was more of a very short history than a very short introduction, and even as a history I think it probably functions best as a reminder for people who are already familiar with the basic plot. It's not so useful as an introduction for people who are quite ignorant. I don't think this book offered me much information about what Anglicans believe, or how they worship, or how they differ from other Christian traditions. As far as I can make out, the main thing seems to be where you put the furni ...more
Rafael Sales
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book delivered what pretended! A consistent apresentation of the main history of Anglicanism in the English Church and through the world. Very good book!
Linda Trostle
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: academic
Chapman charges that "with its history of autonomous action and its absence of central authority . . . Anglicanism has always been particularly prone to ever-increasing diversity." The purpose of this book, therefore, is to show "how and why this has come to be and whether Anglicanism has a future" (p. 12).

The book accomplishes its purpose. In doing so, however, the reader is expected to be familiar with general world history, socio-political activities, and notable events and people. Therefore,
Benjamin Stahl
My wife and I, as Catholics, read this together, interested in learning more about other denominations. Unfortunately I found this book somewhat disappointing, especially in comparison to the other Very Short Introductions I have read. While the writer offers an insight into the historic origins of Anglicanism, he seems to focus too much on that, and not so much on the doctrinal or lifestyle aspects. The whole thing felt more like an information dump on the convoluted relationship between the Ch ...more
Jason Ray Carney
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting overview of the phenomenon of Anglicanism from the Reformation through postmodernity. The 15th, 16th, and 17th century historical sections are interesting but the 18th amd 19th century sections become confusing due to a large amount of details regarding changing church organization, i.e. nuanced references to forums, councils, and esoteric debates. The contemporary history (or chapter on “The Future of Anglicanism”) is very good. The overarching characterization of Anglicanism—a t ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked this up on a whim while reading a Barbara Pym, to get a better handle on the distinctions she makes between Anglican groupuscules.

A tidy whistlestop tour of the history of the church, explaining its intertwined politics and theologies. Chapters 1-7 were an especially good broad view of the main competing ideas.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chapman's introduction to Anglicanism was exactly what I needed in order to get a basic backbone for Anglican history onto which I can sort and dig in deeper as I explore this tradition of my brothers and sisters
Kevin Summers
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Sample quote: "In its current state, the Church of England is a microcosm of the Anglican Communion -- the same tensions threaten to divide it. Its relative weakness and rapid decline mean that it can no longer take for granted its position as the mother church of Anglicanism."
Joseph Crupper
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mess. Anglicanism, not the book necessarily.
Not for beginning readers or researchers, though. More for people who need a crash course.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
As its title promises, this is a good introduction to the Anglican Church. Chapman's tone concerning the future of Anglicanism struck me as a tad bit dour, however.
Jon R. Jordan
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: anglican
A very, very short *history* of Anglicanism. Perhaps not the best introduction to Anglicanism.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Helpful summary of global Anglicanism, and a nice brief read. Would like to see an updated version that includes current Anglican affairs including GAFCON.
Fulfills its stated purpose well.
Chloé Bennett
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grad-school
This is a great way to get a basic understanding of the origins of the Anglican Church and the way it has developed over the years.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Does what it says on the tin. A broad scope and comprehensive survey of the history of Anglicanism. The chapters on the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic traditions are particularly engaging.
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Perhaps Chapman's central idea about Anglicanism is that it lacks a single controlling authority. At its founding, the monarch was the single controlling authority. He was the Head of the Church, the Defender of the Faith. Loyalty to the Church came from the sense that the monarch had the right to control not only temporal life but spiritual life as well. Political authority came before theology.

As belief in the Divine Right of Kings faded so did the single authority of the Church. Chapman trace
Thomas Reeves
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful little book. Author understands the History and many of the nuances of Anglicanism. Attempts to make neutral comments when coming to the modern period, but the discerning reader will pick up some of his biases.

Author rightly tracks the tensions (especially during mission expansion) involved with Anglicans who viewed the role of the Bishop as central to maintaining orthodoxy, and those other groups (conservative and liberal pietists) who viewed the office of bishop as arbitrary.

This re
C. Varn
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book suffers from a malady that infects many in this line of “Very Short” introductions: its topic is too broad and so is its scope. Chapman does a strong job of laying out the somewhat sordid history of the Anglican church and the Anglican-Episcopal communion, but a lot of the context for the history is not included in the work for what I assume is concern about space. This means one needs an extensive knowledge English and commonwealth history that would preclude most people who would nee ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is from the Oxford University Press series Very Short Introductions. I have enjoyed numerous titles from this series and each has been a great way to get some basic knowledge and understanding on a topic before continuing with further, more detailed study.

In this volume, Chapman does a great job of laying out the history of the Anglican Church (Church of England) and the other churches included in the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church in the USA. He gives a very good e
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There is not too much to say about this volume. It is a short, concise introduction to Anglicanism that gives one a taste of the movement's complexity and its place in the Christian church. Anglicanism sits somewhere between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and Chapman shows the origins and development of that via media from distinctly medieval conceptions of Church and State to a truly globalized movement that is the second-largest single Christian body in the world. Particularly helpful is ...more
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book to find out a bit more about this branch of Christianity, and by and large I was not disappointed. This is an eminently readable introduction to Anglicanism, from its founding in the 16th century to the present day. It covers all the major developments, and gives a brief background for each. It is particularly useful for anyone who wishes to put the present controversies shaking the Anglican communion in a historical context, and the last chapter of the book is devoted to t ...more
Matt Root
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if any book on the Church of England and her Anglican/Episcopalian daughters could ever be "excellent"; indeed it isn't a story that really promotes excellence. However, this book is certainly "very good," sketching the history and (to the extent that it exists) thought of this curious branch of Christianity from its beginnings through to our current troubled age.

The absolute best feature of this book is that it does not have a bone to pick. It represents the diversity that has alw
Sarah Maguire
This was a big topic for a very short introduction; four hundred years of history covered in less than two hundred pages. What surprised and disappointed me a little was that it was a very potted history, rather than a more broad-based introduction to the topic. It seemed definitely aimed at the insider rather than someone who wanted a genuine overview. While there were some helpful summaries of the development of Anglican thought through the centuries, the minutiae of conferences proved dry and ...more
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked the concise style of writing in this series of short introductions by Oxford UP so when I wanted to learn more about the history of the Anglican movement I got this. Chapman does a fine job succinctly covering the winding story of English and global Anglicanism, which left me pretty equipped to carry on a conversation with an Anglican and understand current developments in the Communion.
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
The first three chapters of this book were very good--compelling summaries of different parts in the history in Anglicanism. Yet, once the book moved on to the sectarian history, the book devolved into a list of names and dates. It was no longer a useful "short introduction" but rather a long list of Lambeth conference topics and countries other than England which have Anglican members.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Nice and informative, and true to its title it was very short and concise.
Daniel Wright
A competent survey of the vagaries of the history and the confusions of the theology associated with Anglicanism.
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