Book: New Book Explores ‘The Shape of Anglican Theology’

Posted Aug 25, 2023

The question of what it is that makes Anglican theology Anglican has long provoked controversy and debate. In a new book, Scott MacDougall, Associate Professor of Theology at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, CA), provides an attempt to bring some clarity to the matter.

Unlike the numerous books that offer a historical account of Anglican theology, or that present the lives and ideas of particular Anglican theologians, The Shape of Anglican Theology: Faith Seeking Wisdom (Brill) focuses on the nature and character of Anglican theology itself.

MacDougall begins with a treatment of the ways in which Anglican theology is and is not distinct from other types of Christian theology. He then describes the theological features that mark the general boundaries of Anglican theologizing. The book’s core consists of MacDougall’s presentation of eight interconnected characteristics that he thinks provide Anglican theology with its distinctive profile.

Ultimately, MacDougall argues that, by setting its boundaries as widely as possible and requiring signing up to specific theological perspectives as little as possible, Anglican theology is a wisdom theology. It seeks to strengthen Anglican Christians with the wisdom they need for the hard work of faithful Christian discernment in belief and practice, the very thing that Christian disciples most need as they navigate the complexities of the times and places in which they live.

Endorsed by distinguished Anglican theologians Sarah Coakley, David Ford, Mike Higton, and Kathryn Tanner, this is a book that both non-specialists and scholars will find to be an illuminating reminder of the special gift we have in the Anglican theological heritage.