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F D Maurice and the Crisis of Christian Authority$
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Jeremy Morris

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545315.001.0001

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The Crisis of Belief

The Crisis of Belief

(p.161) 6 The Crisis of Belief
F D Maurice and the Crisis of Christian Authority

Jeremy Morris

Oxford University Press

The main focus of this book has been on Frederick Denison Maurice’s ecclesiology. Two constitutive elements of the general theological framework that underlie his ecclesiology were highlighted earlier: namely, his sacramental and existential understanding of language, and his conviction of the mediation of God’s providential ordering of the world through history. These were intrinsically related. Language was a carrier of transcendent meaning through time, referring beyond itself to a fullness it could never completely capture. It was both symbolic and thoroughly historical. Maurice’s conception of the Catholicity of the Church was, accordingly, to be traced through its diverse and complex modes of expression in history. But there was a third element, which in every sense — ontologically, epistemologically, chronologically, morally, and even spiritually — precedes history and language. That is the ‘content’ of Revelation, which includes both the concept of Revelation itself and the doctrine of the God who is the revealer. Maurice’s historical ecclesiology implied, and arguably required, a specific understanding of Revelation.

Keywords:   Frederick Denison Maurice, ecclesiology, language, God, Catholicity, Revelation

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