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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Anglicanism’s multiple identities are often explained in terms of ‘church parties’, perhaps ‘high church’ and ‘low church’; ‘conservative’ and ‘radical’; or ‘evangelical’, ‘anglo-catholic’ and ‘liberal’. Such descriptions are frequently heard in accounts of the origins and contemporary character of the Anglican movement. However, there are many pitfalls in this interpretative approach, as this chapter reveals. The flourishing literature on Anglican identities is often deeply misleading. In particular, a church party framework can be guilty of imposing a model of conflict upon the historical record; of pigeon-holing Anglicans with simplistic stereotypes; and of being used as a rhetorical tool to bolster intra-Anglican polemics. This chapter cautions against the dangers, to which all students of Anglicanism must be alert.

Keywords: anglo-catholicism, church party, evangelical, high church, identities, liberal, low church

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