Sunday, March 10, 2013

Building an Anglican Library

Recently I was asked how one should go about building a decent library of classical Anglican theology. Here's the first thing I would recommend. Consider purchasing the six volumes of the Church's Teaching Series which was published by the Episcopal Church in the early 1950's.

The books in the series are: The Holy Scriptures (Bible); Chapters in Church History (Church History); The Faith of the Church (Theology); The Worship of the Church (Liturgy); Christian Living (Moral Theology and Social Ethics); and The Episcopal Church and Its Work (Church Polity).

These books are easy to find used or free, dirt cheap, and are themselves are very good resources for the basic faith of the Church as taught before some of the authors, and the Church itself, went off the theological deep end in the 60's and 70's. This, of course, is not to say that they are perfect, or the last word in Anglican theology. But they are indeed very helpful. I often give them to laity who are either new to the Anglican tradition, or wish to learn more about it.

One of the nice things about these books, though, is that they contain extensive, detailed bibliographies, divided by category, reading level, and so on. Most of the books contained in these bibliographies can be easily purchased used online. Others are still in print, or have been reprinted. A decent Anglican theological library can be built for a very affordable price by purchasing the books in the bibliography sections of these volumes.

So I recommend these books as a foundation to build a basic library of Anglican theology that is helpful to both clergy and laity.


  1. Do you have an ISBN for any of these? My search keeps turning up the new series that was done in the 90s.

  2. I couldn't find and ISBN number. But here are the titles with the authors and the dates they were published. You should be able to find them on Amazon easily.

    The Holy Scriptures (1949, Denton)
    Chapters in Church History (1951, Dawley)
    The Faith of the Church (1951, Pike and Pittenger)
    The Worship of the Church (1952, Shepherd)
    Christian living (1957, Bayne)
    The Episcopal Church and Its Work (1955, Dawley)

  3. For some additional areas that are classically Anglican, some other great books might include:

    (1) BCP--Proctor & Frere's A New History of the Book of Common Prayer (1st ed. 1855; I use the 1908 3rd impression) (Macmillian & Co.);

    (2) 39 Articles--Bicknell's A Theological Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles (1st ed. 1919; I use the 1947 w/additional references by Carpenter) (Longmans, Green & Co.); and

    3) devotions: Knowles' The Practice of Religion (1st published 1908; I use a 1935 printing by Morehouse Publ.); and

    (4) general spirituality: Frere's English Church Ways (John Murray, 1914).

  4. I'm not familiar with the last one. Thanks for tipping me off on it!