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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid, concise, informative and witty
Chapman takes a basically historical path into explaining Anglicanism, starting with Cranmer and the Reformation and then tracing other themes over the centuries (e.g. chapters on each of evangelicalism and AngloCatholicism), finishing off with a big chapter on the worldwide Anglican communion.

Chapman's account is brief but he always picks up on choice...
Published on 26 May 2007 by R. S. Stanier

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars An insight
A very difficult job well done. Crammed with dates, people etc. Good reference book when needed for study. Mind boggling stuff.
Published 10 months ago by Rod Walker


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid, concise, informative and witty, 26 May 2007
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Chapman takes a basically historical path into explaining Anglicanism, starting with Cranmer and the Reformation and then tracing other themes over the centuries (e.g. chapters on each of evangelicalism and AngloCatholicism), finishing off with a big chapter on the worldwide Anglican communion.

Chapman's account is brief but he always picks up on choice examples to illustrate his points, e.g. the changes in the wording of the eucharistic prayer between the 1549 and 1552 prayer book, to show how Anglicans moved away from the real presence, or on the hymn "The Church's one foundation" was written to bulwark one side in the Colenso controversy in the 19th century.

So while it remains an introduction to Anglicanism, he's also got enough detail to interest those who are more familiar with the subject. Indeed, most of the chapters are weighty enough to form the first chunk of reading for someone doing an A level or undergraduate essay on anything from the Reformation to the Oxford movement.

His overall thesis is that Anglicanism started as primarily a Crown-based denomination: loyalty and faith in the Crown was at its core. It is therefore struggling still to define itself now that the Crown and English state no longer give it its natural definition: within England, a key point of departure was Catholic emancipation in the early 19th Century, formalising Anglicanism as one denomination among many; within the world, the change has been the end of empire, meaning that England no longer has meaningful authority.

His explanations shed great light on the current difficulties within the Anglican Communion: why should each church agree on everything? when was that ever the expectation?

In summary, this book fabulously achieves what it sets out to do: to provide a brief introduction to Anglicanism. Because the author is so in control of his subject, he has done more than that: it's a real insight into the Anglican denomination: its blessings and its problems.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very readable introduction, 5 April 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
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 these controversies.

The only shortcoming of the book is its overly historical and political point of view. I would have appreciated a more extensive insight into the Anglican theology. Overall, however, this is a wonderful little book and I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but (almost) perfectly formed..., 16 April 2009
By 
Roglet (Henfield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
A very helpful introduction which does exactly what the title suggests. I felt there was a lack of clarity in some areas, perhaps due the large and varired history of the topic. SOme cross-referencing may have helped in this. I still feel that value for money was had.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very complicated history made readable ..., 12 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I wish I'd read this forty years ago. As someone who has been a Reader in the CofE for almost 43 years, this threw light into some interesting corners. I found it fascinating and it has explained some of the stranger attitudes I have encountered in the course of my ministry. I'd certainly commend this to everyone setting out in any role in the Anglican Church, and it should be essential reading for any journalist wishing to 'report' on any matter pertaining discussions within the church's governing bodies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a Novel, 25 Mar 2011
This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is indeed a very short introduction to Anglicanism taking us through its twists and turns from an historical vantage point. After all it is rather difficult to understand any form of Anglicanism if one does not understand its most unique history. Chapman, interestingly enough, emphasizes the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic branches of Anglicanism while seemingly ignoring Liberalism/Broad Churchmen/Latitudinarians inside the Church of England. Contrary to the above reviewer I did not get the impression that Chapman was anti-Anglo-Catholic and pro-Evangelical. Issues of contemporary importance were discussed as factually as possible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview from the reformation on of all the happenings ..., 3 July 2014
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Excellent overview from the reformation on of all the happenings in the C of E and Anglicanism Worldwide and not difficult to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and still unfolding story, 3 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Having recently joined an Anglican church, I wanted to understand more of its history and origins. This book, part of a wonderful series of Short Introductions, gave me what I needed. from its roots in the take-over by Henry VIII to the developments of the Reformation, this brief book tells it all. From a neo-Catholic church controlled by a despotic King and designed to protect him, to an increasingly protestant church, with a Bible-based theology, the journey is fascinating. I confess I had not realised just how close was (and technically still is) the link between crown and church. Mutually protective and supportive, they have functioned in parallel for centuries.
The strain, however, became increasingly unbearable. From monarchs with little real Christian interest, the Anglo-Catholic Oxford movement, the evangelical movement and the more modern international aspects of the church, the fault-lines are showing clearly. How will the Anglican church deal with the 2nd quarter of the 21st century: with English kings/queens who have no declared Christian faith, with a multi-faith society, with differently defined sexuality and national mass-ignorance of the Bible?
Anglicanism has developed a multitude of faces, a whole spectrum of beliefs. Are we on the brink of a complete split between the conservative, Bible-based Anglican church and a more politically progressive Anglican church? Who knows. But this book will certainly give the background and the context.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A very dry book, 8 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Required reading on the Reader course but really enough to put anyone off for good! Difficult to read but containing some good information. If only it were more palatable!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly concentrated, this book covers the history and current ..., 26 Nov 2013
By 
Elizabeth S. Wells (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Highly concentrated, this book covers the history and current structure of the Church of England. As someone from a Free Church background, having made their home within Anglicanism, this book is invaluable in telling me about the Church I belong to. One of those books I wish I had had to hand years ago.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly Volume with a misleading Title, 7 Sep 2013
By 
W. Tegner "Bill" (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I found the title a bit patronising. The book is not "very short" (though it's not particularly long) and the impression you get is that the learned author might be implying that it's some sort of beginners' guide. Just to call it "an introduction" would have sufficed. Having got that off my chest, let me say that it is a good book: succinct, in the main readable (if a little heavy on occasions) and informative.

The book explores various aspects of Anglicanism. I found the analysis of Cranmer a very interesting and poignant one, as also the question between Church (and faith) and state (both monarchs/Supreme Governors and Parliament). But in the middle of the book, after many studious pages, suddenly the style changes and the author displays a great enthusiasm for Evangelicalism. He is somewhat less enthusiastic about Anglo-Catholicism.

The chapters on the development of Anglicanism worldwide are interesting, as is the somewhat vexed issue of the freedom of the various Churches in the Anglican Communion to do their own thing. The subject of women priests is, of course, covered, but the strains caused and the small but high-profile desertions to Rome in its wake do not feature much. The difficult issue of homosexuality is handled objectively.

It is interesting to see how Anglicanism has overcome many stresses and strains over the centuries, and continues to do so. (The book was written before the current Women Bishops impasse, and before the implicitly anti-Anglican papacy of Benedict XVI including the high profile but ill-starred establishment of the "Personal Ordinariate").

The book is scholarly and informative. I learned quite a bit from it.
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