Ecclesiastical Law, Clergy and Laity: A History of Legal Discipline and the Anglican Church, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ecclesiastical Law, Clergy and Laity

A History of Legal Discipline and the Anglican Church, 1st Edition

By Neil Patterson


174 pages

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Hardback: 9780815352648
pub: 2018-09-13
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351138628
pub: 2018-09-13
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Discipline in an ecclesiastical context can be defined as the power of a church to maintain order among its members on issues of morals or doctrine. This book presents a scholarly engagement with the way in which legal discipline has evolved within the Church of England since 1688. It explores how the Church of England, unusually among Christian churches, has come to be without means of effective legal discipline in matters of controversy, whether liturgical, doctrinal, or moral. The author excludes matters of blatant scandal to focus on issues where discipline has been attempted in controversial matters, focussing on particular cases. The book makes connections between law, the state of the Church, and the underlying theology of justice and freedom. At a time when doctrinal controversy is widespread across all Christian traditions, it is argued that the Church of England has an inheritance here in need of cherishing and sharing with the universal Church.

The book will be a valuable resource for academics and researchers in the areas of law and religion, and ecclesiastical history.


Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Toleration and its Effects

Chapter 2: The Old Discipline Lingers

Chapter 3: A Century of Doctrine Trials 1775-1871

Chapter 4: Law Defied – the Ritualists

Chapter 5: The Yearning to Fence the Altar

Chapter 6: Reluctance to Discipline

Chapter 7: The Lingering Temptation


About the Author

Revd Neil Patterson (MA BD) is Director of Vocations and Ordinands (Hereford), Rural Dean of Hereford, and a Member of the General Synod and the Ecclesiastical Law Society. He has published on ecclesiastical issues in books and periodicals.

About the Series

Law and Religion

The practice of religion by individuals and groups, the rise of religious diversity, and the fear of religious extremism, raise profound questions for the interaction between law and religion in society. The regulatory systems involved, the religion laws of secular government (national and international) and the religious laws of faith communities, are valuable tools for our understanding of the dynamics of mutual accommodation and the analysis and resolution of issues in such areas as: religious freedom; discrimination; the autonomy of religious organisations; doctrine, worship and religious symbols; the property and finances of religion; religion, education and public institutions; and religion, marriage and children. In this series, scholars at the forefront of law and religion contribute to the debates in this area. The books in the series are analytical with a key target audience of scholars and practitioners, including lawyers, religious leaders, and others with an interest in this rapidly developing discipline.

Series Editor

Professor Norman Doe is Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, which he set up at Cardiff Law School in 1998.

Editorial Board

Carmen Asiaín is a Law Professor at University of Montevideo (Uruguay).

Paul Babie is Professor and Associate Dean (International), Adelaide Law School. 

Pieter Coertzen is the chairperson of the Unit for the Study of Law and Religion in the Beyers Naudé Center for Public Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch.  

Alison Mawhinney is a Reader in Law at Bangor University.

Michael John Perry is a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion and has held a Robert W. Woodruff University Chair there since 2003.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
LAW / General
LAW / Ethics & Professional Responsibility
LAW / Legal History
RELIGION / Christianity / Anglican
RELIGION / Biblical Studies / History & Culture
RELIGION / Christian Church / Canon & Ecclesiastical Law
RELIGION / Christian Life / Professional Growth
RELIGION / Christian Church / Administration
RELIGION / Christian Church / History
RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Adult