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After Comprehensiveness

Stephanie Spellers

The concept of comprehensiveness has meant different things at different stages of Anglican history, in particular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the nineteenth for figures like F. D. Maurice, and in the contemporary scene. In each phase it can only be understood inasmuch as one looks at the implicit agreements that stand behind the controversies in question, and at the nature of the community it was seeking to hold together. In our present situation the concept has been thinned to the point of vacuity. This article offers at its conclusion a reconstruction of the concept, suggesting conditions for its usefulness in the present situation.

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