Allan O’Grady Cuseo, Catholic Library World Review

December 31, 2021

“Award-winning author Rowan A. Greer, Professor Emeritus of Yale University Divinity School, attempts to make sense of the dynamic variety of scriptural approaches within the Anglican Communion. Although Scripture plays a singular role within the Communion, it has rarely been employed in a prescriptive manner. Many Anglicans assert that it is important to listen to the voice of God and this listening has led to several of the current controversies today, especially in the Episcopal Church. Greer avoids these mostly moral controversies as, he writes, they would muddle his deep respect for the past and the placement of Anglicanism within the context of ecumenism. Greer admits in a wonderfully illuminating ‘A Foreword Written Afterwards’ that it is difficult to speak of an Anglican identity. He affirms there is no single Anglican view of Scripture or a single theological perspective. This is the beauty and genius of the Communion but also can be its curse as we witness the headlines concerning gay and lesbian issues and the ordination of women.

The fascinating beginnings of the Anglican approaches to scripture are highlighted in the work of Joseph Hall, William Chillingworth, and Henry Hammond, three theologians (1600s) who support the episcopacy and the Prayer Book.

Scripture needs to be interpreted and this interpretation can vary not only from diocese to diocese but also from parish to parish. Greer questions the most common assumption within the Communion of the three-legged stool (tradition, scripture, reason) or cord as it is referred to here. Anglican theology pays homage to Richard Hooker, and every Anglican Bible class will study his contributions and learn of this unique approach . . .

Greer spends many pages on Hooker as well as F.D. Maurice, Benjamin Jowett, William Sanday, and William Gladstone who were prominent in the nineteenth century . . .

Greer includes excellent discussion questions for each chapter plus a comprehensive bibliography. Scholarly in approach, this text is best suited for seminary and college classes rather than the casual reader . . .”

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