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liberalism: Britain


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Other articles describe various aspects and persons involved in the liberal tradition in theology (see the cross references at the end of this article). The aim here is to characterize what might be called the liberal mentality, especially as it has manifested itself on the British theological scene. In the theological context, the term ‘liberal’ refers not so much to a single identifiable set of beliefs as to a cluster of related phenomena which differ according to the intellectual, ecclesiastical or national setting in which they are found. It is therefore not surprising that British theology of this kind has had its own particular flavour, some aspects of it derived from features of British theology in general. Thus, much of it has been Anglican, much of it centred on Oxford and Cambridge, and much of it has had (by comparison, for example, with possible German parallels) a distinctly amateur feel, almost as if its propagators were putting forward suggestions for discussion, even flying kites, rather than offering solidly based academic proposals. Whatever charges of irresponsibility may be levelled against it, it has nevertheless placed before the public ideas which have every right to be on the agenda in the modern world, which many have fumbled for but not quite known how (or dared) to express, and which have stimulated discussion across the wider theological spectrum. Though ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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