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Anglican Studies MPhil Pathway

Anglican Studies

Course Coordinators: Professor Richard Rex and Dr Jeremy Morris

The purpose of the pathway in Anglican Studies is to offer students the opportunity to pursue advanced study and introductory research into the history and theology of Anglicanism.  Cambridge provides an unsurpassed environment for study and research in this field.  As the alma mater of so many of the leading figures in the history of the Church of England, not least in the era of the English Reformation, it has itself played a crucial role in the story.  The research resources of the University Library are supported by excellent libraries and special collections in the colleges, and the human resources of the Faculty of Divinity are supplemented by additional expertise in the Cambridge Theological Federation, particularly in the Anglican colleges of Ridley Hall and Westcott House.

The pathway has two modules.  The background module, in the Michaelmas Term, provides an introduction to the Anglican tradition by examining four crucial epochs in its history: its origin in the English Reformation; the crisis of the seventeenth century which saw the abolition and restoration of the Church of England; the revivals of the nineteenth century; and the ecclesiastical dimension of the twentieth-century process of Decolonisation, which led to the emergence of global Anglicanism, or Anglicanisms, from the imperial or commonwealth diaspora of the Church of England.

In the Lent Term, the focus will turn more closely to the self-understanding of the Church of England and the Anglican tradition.  Each of the seminars in the theological module will focus on one or two key figures who reflected in an explicit way on the nature of the Church in general and of the Church of England or the Anglican churches in particular.

The authors and readings chosen for the modules may vary from year to year, and will be confirmed by the end of the Easter Term preceding a student’s commencement on the course.  The authors selected for the seminars in the first year of the programme will be as follows:

History of Anglicanism: Michaelmas Term 2016

  • Defining and Defending the Church of England: John Jewel and Thomas Stapleton
  • The Crucible of Anglicanism: Richard Baxter and Jeremy Taylor
  • The Age of Revivals: the Evangelical Revival and the Oxford Movement: Hannah More and John Keble
  • Decolonisation and the Emergence of Global Anglicanism: Samuel Azariah and Janani Luwum

Theology of Anglicanism: Lent Term 2017

  • Richard Hooker: between Rome and Geneva
  • William Wake: Anglicans and Gallicans
  • William Wilberforce and F.D. Maurice: the Nature of the Church
  • William Temple and Michael Ramsey: Church and Gospel in Modernity

Study and Examination Requirements

Students accepted for the pathway in Anglican Studies will be expected to participate in both modules of study and to offer two essays from the list of essays that will be set each year.  Essay topics will include but will not be restricted to the authors and texts discussed in the seminars.  It would be usual (though not compulsory) to offer one essay from the ‘History’ list and the other from the ‘Theology’ list, but it will be permissible to offer both essays from the same list.  Students will be expected to offer their dissertation on some aspect of the Church of England, of one or more churches in communion with it, or of the Anglican tradition.  No particular exercise or language is prescribed for the Anglican Studies pathway.  Students will be expected to select a language or exercise from those available under the aegis of the M.Phil. in Theology and Religious Studies.  Introductory German or Latin, Theological Methods, or early modern palaeography may be appropriate choices.


A first-class or strong II.1 degree in Theology, Religious Studies, History, or a cognate discipline in the humanities involving textual and contextual study.

Students pursuing other pathways within the M.Phil. will be welcome to participate in the Anglican Studies seminar in either term.