Thursday, August 16, 2012

D.Min, Year Two: Percy Dearmer and the Teaching of Addai

Well, one more year of my Doctor of Ministry program is behind me. Last night I turned in my last paper for "Types of Anglican Theology." This puts me halfway through my coursework. I'm rather pleased with both final papers I wrote for this summer and hope they're worthwhile. The Dearmer paper, in particular, represents the beginning of my research on what will likely be my Doctor of Ministry project: a critical analysis of Percy Dearmer's work followed by a complete re-write of The Parson's Handbook for twenty-first century, post-Liturgical Movement, ecumenical, Anglican Christianity.

Sounds like fun, eh?

Aware that some strange souls out there might be interested in one or the other of these papers, I'm posting them both here for download.

Types of Anglican Theology, class taught by the Rev. Dr. Mark Chapman, Vice-Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford (and man with an excellent English professor beard, exactly what one might expect)
Prayer Book Catholic: The Work of Percy Dearmer in Context and Contemporary Liturgical Renewal

From the introduction...
Of all the figures of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Anglicanism, perhaps the most ignored and misunderstood is Percy Dearmer. Over the course of several decades, he entered a time of confusion and upheaval and argued for a particular approach to Anglican worship founded upon sound principles. His influence is far greater than has often been acknowledged. His ideals shaped the way generations of clergy and lay people think about worship.
Furthermore, Dearmer’s approach to the church is one that still bears insights for today’s practice of Anglican Christianity. At times, when reading him describe the state of the church in his day one hears surprisingly similar echoes to struggles of our own times. A careful exploration of Dearmer’s context and approach should yield important insights for contemporary clergy and lay people who seek today to worship God in the beauty of holiness.

An Introduction to Ancient Eastern Christianity, class taught by Dr. Charles M. Stang, Associate Professor of Early Christian Thought at Harvard Divinity School in Harvard University (and prof that will absolutely rock J. Crew fancy shorts and shirts while teaching—otherwise known as the opposite of what one might expect)
The "Teaching of Addai" and a Fourth-Century Eastern Theology of Ministry

From the introduction...
Everyone loves a good apocryphal miracle story. Well, perhaps not everyone. But oftentimes apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature from the first few centuries of the church is explored primarily for its fantastic accounts of miracles and legends relating to the supernatural power of Christ or the early apostles.
A case in point is the Teaching of Addai. The two most fantastic aspects of this story are the healing of King Abgar by Addai (as a result of the former’s written request to Christ himself) and a legend relating the discovery of the true cross by someone named Protonike. Most who study this text do so for the Abgar legend. Those who aren’t interested in that section explore this text for the Protonike legend.
I would argue that neither of these stories are central to the Teaching of Addai. Rather, this text is precisely what its title suggests, an account of the teaching of the apostle Addai. More specifically, it is an account of the shape and order of Christian ministry, as brought to Edessa by Addai and continued by Addai’s disciples. The author of the final version of the text we have today took a pre-existing Edessene legend in the Abgar narrative, combined it with a rewritten story of the discovery of the true cross, and then wove around them a theology of ministry that seeks to find its grounding in apostolic authority, catholicity, and a warm relationship with the state and empire. An exploration of the Teaching of Addai will display a robust theology of ministry that seeks to refute the competing visions of the day and to legitimate and secure Edessene Christianity (as described by the author) as the authentic expression of Christianity.


  1. You're re-writing the Parson's Handbook? Let me know when pre-orders start. I'll leave a place for it next to my copy of Fr. Hackett's magnum opus.

  2. I just wanted to note that you are the first author I've ever seen explain the "museum worship" phrase associated with Dearmer's work. I can't remember if I first saw it in the C. of E. humor magazine, Pharisaios, or elsewhere.