George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878): Theological Formation, Life and Work, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878)

Theological Formation, Life and Work, 1st Edition

By Robert William Keith Wilson


218 pages

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pub: 2016-03-18
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The conventional portrayal of George Augustus Selwyn, the first Anglican bishop of New Zealand, focuses upon his significance as a missionary bishop who pioneered synodical government in New Zealand and acted as a mediator between settlers and Maori. George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) focuses on Selwyn’s theological formation, which places him in the context of the world of traditional high churchmanship, rather than the Oxford Movement narrowly conceived. It argues that his distinctiveness lay in the way in which he was able to transplant his vision of Anglicanism to the colonial context. Making use of Selwyn’s personal correspondence and papers, as well as his unpublished sermons, the book analyses his theological formation, his missionary policy, his role within the formation of the colonial episcopate, his attitude to conciliar authority and his impact upon the diocesan revival in England. The study places Selwyn alongside other likeminded high churchmen who shaped the framework for the transformation of Anglicanism from State Church to worldwide communion in the nineteenth century.


’Robert Wilson has delved into the theological thinking and world that shaped G.A. Selwyn, a leading nineteenth-century missionary and colonial bishop and architect of pan-Anglicanism. This provides a rich appreciation of how Selwyn’s theology informed his activism and achievements.’ Allan Davidson, St John's College, Auckland, New Zealand ’Robert Wilson’s helpful study of Selwyn’s theology illuminates the bishop’s ministry and relationships in the radically different settings of colonial New Zealand and populous industrial Lichfield. He throws light on why the combination of traditional high churchmanship with his sense of calling as a missionary bishop� could be so vexatious to the evangelical missionaries already in the colony when he landed. This new study using Selwyn’s sermons and letters will enrich and broaden our understanding of the bishop’s theological stance. Robert Wilson skilfully combines insights from such primary sources with recently published interpretations from New Zealand historians and deepens our appreciation of this most energetic and pragmatic episcopal reformer.’ Warren Limbrick, former Warden, Selwyn College in Otago University, New Zealand and retired Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, New Zealand

Table of Contents

Preface; Historiographical introduction; Selwyn’s theological formation; Selwyn’s missionary policy; Selwyn’s role within the formation of the colonial Episcopate; Selwyn and conciliar authority; Selwyn’s impact upon the diocesan revival; Conclusion; Bibliographies; Index.

About the Author

Robert William Keith Wilson was born in Bath, Somerset in 1982 and is a graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge in Theology (2003). He also has an MPhil in Theology (2004). His PhD on George Augustus Selwyn was approved in 2010.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Theology