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Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism Hardcover – April 29, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0691125183 ISBN-10: 069112518X

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Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism + A History of Global Anglicanism (Introduction to Religion)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069112518X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691125183
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hassett...has written a fascinating book that studies the strong relationship which has developed between the conservative wing of the American Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Africa. Hassett did her research at St. Timothy's Church, located in the southeaster US, and in the Church of Uganda...This book is an excellent analysis of the current division within Anglicanism, the significance of the partnership between conservative Episcopalians and African Anglicans, and the consequences for the Anglican Communion."--R.M. Kollar, Choice

"Miranda Hassett tells the story of the emergence of an alliance between conservative American Episcopalians and African Anglicans. The book describes...how certain Episcopalian conservatives [reached] out to Southern leaders, how they developed networks, shared concerns, and planned strategies to ensure that a conservative resolution on human sexuality would be passed. There is a fascinating chapter on the part played by money, power, and influence in the new alliance. Any bishop...struggling to understand the future of the Communion would benefit from reading Hassett's fascinating and well-written book."--Mary Tanner, Church Times

"[An] evenhanded, informative and wholly admirable book. Hassett has provided not only a measured, balanced and sober account of a sometimes mystifying sequence of events, but also a brilliant study of the complexities and surprises of globalization."--Sam Wells, Christian Century

"In an era in which those involved in the debates over theology and morality in the Anglican Communion increasingly rely upon caricature and overly simple explanations, Anglican Communion in Crisis stands out for its closely argued, nuanced discussions and its unwillingness to follow any single party line. [T]his is a book that deserved to be read by anyone with a serious interest in the current state of the Anglican Communion."--Robert W. Prichard, The Weekly Standard

"This is a fascinating book. It goes beyond the superficial news reporting to deal substantively with the undercurrent of issues impacting the Anglican Communion. . . . This is a surprisingly balanced and very disciplined anthropological study that asks a series of very fundamental questions that could be the basis for future research. . . . This is not a political tome. It is a serious work of anthropology that deserves wide readership for its discussion of cultural and political dynamics as much as the continuing 'reasoning' within the Anglican Communion."--David R. Smedley, Amazon.com

"This gem of a book based on Miranda Hassett's dissertation in anthropology urgently needs to be read and discussed by many throughout the Anglican Communion. It will appeal to those still trying to understand what happened at Lambeth 1998 as they prepare for Lambeth 2008, as well as others looking for a fresh perspective on the global Anglican Communion controversy."--Joseph Duggan, Journal of Religion

"This book heralds and makes accessible the New Pentecost of the global Christian community in all its many voices and plural wonder. For this, the academy and the Church are in Miranda Hassett's debt."--Ian T. Douglas, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"[T]his book is essential reading."--New Directions

From the Back Cover

"Other scholars have addressed the liberal-conservative dynamics in American religion, but few have addressed the issue on a more global scale. This is an impressive book."--Randall Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

"The link between conservative American Episcopalians and African Anglicans has been apparent for a decade or more. Now Miranda Hassett describes how this link has taken shape and how it works. Anglican Communion in Crisis is an important and timely book that gives insights into religion as a globalizing force and into the changing shape of religious conservatism."--William Sachs, author of The Transformation of Anglicanism

"Anglican Communion in Crisis is admirable for the clarity and consistency of its arguments about the current ideological divides within the Anglican Communion. Miranda Hassett manages to describe some fraught theological debates while remaining sympathetic to the various positions. There is much fine scholarship here."--Simon Coleman, University of Sussex

"Anglican Communion in Crisis is a detailed analysis of new networks between seemingly unlikely global partners--conservative American Episcopalians and predominantly East African Anglicans, united in their opposition to liberal Anglicans' growing openness toward homosexuality. This is the only thorough examination of these important global alliances that includes both textual and anthropological analysis. This is an important work for anthropologists of religion, for church historians, and for scholars of globalization."--Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John M. Linebarger on December 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is nothing else in print that covers the same territory as Miranda Hassett's "The Anglican Communion in Crisis," not even Philip Jenkin's "The New Face of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South." In an era of global shifts and realignments within the Anglican Communion, this is a timely book, and I'm glad I read it.

Hassett's book is obviously an updated version of her doctoral dissertation in anthropology from UNC at Chapel Hill. It focuses on events in the Anglican Communion from 1992-2002, and has been lightly updated to include subsequent developments. Hassett's strengths include a focus on fieldwork (largely in Uganda) and a remarkably even-handed approach to thorny theological and political issues. (She admits in a footnote that she is personally pro-gay rights, yet is willing to criticize the excesses of the liberal wing of the Episcopal Church when it is warranted by her fieldwork data.) She also makes insightful comments, which often are contrary to prevailing wisdom, about the nature of globalization and about Philip Jenkins' thesis of a global religions shift.

However, it could have been so much more. The organization of her book is somewhat choppy and structurally unclear; her prose is frequently turgid and bloated; many of the references to globalization literature seem gratuitious and intended to satisfy her dissertation committee; and the updating of her dissertation to include events since 2002 is uneven. Her focus on Uganda is useful from a fieldwork perspective, and no dissertation can be expected to cover everything. However, developments in the Provinces of Nigeria and the Southern Cone, which have proven to be equally significant from a realignment perspective, are virtually ignored.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David R. Smedley on July 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book. It goes beyond the superficial newsreporting to deal substantively with the undercurrent of issues impacting the Anglican Communion.

Hassett provides a detailed anthropological analysis of the issues undergirding the Anglican Communion, from extensive interviews and field work in a church within the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), which has been aligned with the "conservative" minority against the "Church", and from visits and interviews within the Anglican Church in Uganda.

As a non-Anglican that, nonetheless communes within the Episcopal Church due to my denomination's agreement with ECUSA, I read this book from my academic background in public administration and political science, and with background in teaching and research interests in international relations and comparative politics, and the impact of globalization. I read it from a certain built-in mindset that the situation of the Anglican Communion is a test case for how "states" would act in an environment not constrained by a convention such as the Peace of Westphalia. While the book basically confirmed that mindset, the palpable reaction I came away from the reading of this book is how pejorative terms, concepts, and ideas have become in a global political climate of polarized extremes. Just what exactly do "liberal" and "conservative" and "orthodox" mean? Do they mean the same thing in different cultures and within differing cultural contexts? It is true that we are living in a global age of exacerbated political speech, and, as a result, there has been a certain "assault on reason" (to quote the name of the book by the former US VP, Al Gore - The Assault on Reason).
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Format: Hardcover
"Anglican Communion in Crisis" by Miranda Hassett is a revision of her Ph.D. dissertation from the University of North Carolina but is substantially the same as that dissertation. I'm very familiar with this work, having made heavy use of it in my own Ph.D. dissertation on the identity of orthodox Anglicanism. In some ways, her book is the closest work out there to my own.

In "Anglican Communion in Crisis," Hassett attempts to establish the connection between conservative Episcopalians in the U.S. and the conservative Global South Anglicans throughout the world. Her terminology is important, because what many would call "conservative" or "orthodox" Anglicans she terms "Episcopal dissidents." Hassett is clearly on the side of the "revisionists" or "liberals" within The Episcopal Church, and this shows in certain aspects of her work. Thankfully, for the most part Hassett doesn't interject her own personal viewpoint into her work.

As far as a work of scholarship, Hassett has done the Anglican world a service by writing deeply and intelligently on a subject of contemporary relevance. Her main task is to describe and evaluate the "cooperative globalizing endeavors" undertaken by conservative or "orthodox" Anglicans in the U.S. and their allies in the Global South. Describing in particular her research into the Church of Uganda, Hassett makes an important contribution to the understanding of the global nature of Anglicanism, especially orthodox Anglicanism.

Hassett is right in asserting that the relationship between conservative Episcopalians and the conservative Global South Anglicans is reshaping Anglicanism.
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Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism
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