Edward Bouverie Pusey

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Edward Bouverie Pusey
Edward Bouverie Pusey.jpg
Pusey aged about 75, painted by Rosa Corder
Born (1800-08-22)22 August 1800
Pusey, Berkshire
Died 16 September 1882(1882-09-16) (aged 82)
Oxford
Church Church of England

Edward Bouverie Pusey (/ˈpjzi/; 22 August 1800 – 16 September 1882) was an English churchman, for more than fifty years Regius Professor of Hebrew at Christ Church, Oxford. He was one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement.

Early years[edit]

He was born in the village of Pusey in Berkshire. His father was Philip Bouverie (d. 1828), a younger son of the 1st Viscount Folkestone, and took the name of Pusey on succeeding to the manorial estates at that place. After attending Eton College, Edward became a commoner of Christ Church, and was elected in 1824 to a fellowship at Oriel College. He thus became a member of a society which already contained some of the ablest of his contemporaries—among them John Henry Newman and John Keble.

Between 1825 and 1827, he studied Oriental languages and German theology at the University of Göttingen. His first work, published in 1828, as an answer to Hugh James Rose's Cambridge lectures on rationalist tendencies in German theology, showed a good deal of sympathy with the German "pietists", who had striven to deliver Protestantism from its decadence; this sympathy was misunderstood, and Pusey was himself accused of holding rationalist views.

Oxford Movement[edit]

The Duke of Wellington was an early patron of Pusey.
Main article: Oxford Movement

In the same year (1828) the Prime Minister (the Duke of Wellington) appointed Pusey to the Regius professorship of Hebrew with the attached canonry of Christ Church. The misunderstanding of his position led Pusey in 1830 publish a second part of his Historical Enquiry, in which Pusey denied the charge of rationalism. In the years which immediately followed, Pusey became attracted to the revolt against individualism. By the end of 1833, Pusey began sympathizing with those who had already begun to issue the Tracts for the Times. "He was not, however, fully associated in the movement till 1835 and 1836, when he published his tract on baptism and started the Library of the Fathers".[1]

Pusey closely studied the Church Fathers and Caroline Divines who revived traditions of pre-Reformation teaching. Pusey's sermon before the university in May 1843, The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent, so startled the authorities by the re-statement of doctrines which, though well known to ecclesiastical antiquaries, had faded from the common view, that he was suspended for two years from preaching (authorities citing near-obsolete traditions as their justification). The condemned sermon nearly immediately sold 18,000 copies; for the next quarter century, Pusey became possibly the most influential person in the Anglican Church. That sermon became one of the causes which led John Henry Newman to formally convert to Catholicism.[citation needed]

Puseyism[edit]

Pusey was involved in the controversy around Benjamin Jowett.

The movement, in the actual origination of which he had had no share, came to bear his name: it was popularly known as Puseyism and its adherents as Puseyites. His activity, both public and private, as leader of the movement was enormous. He was not only on the stage but also behind the scenes of every important controversy, whether theological or academic. In the Gorham controversy of 1850, in the question of Oxford reform in 1854, in the prosecution of some of the writers of Essays and Reviews, especially of Benjamin Jowett, in 1863, in the question as to the reform of the marriage laws from 1849 to the end of his life, in the Farrar controversy as to the meaning of everlasting punishment in 1877, he was always busy with articles, letters, treatises and sermons.

The occasions on which, in his turn, Pusey preached before his university were all memorable; some of the sermons became manifestoes marking distinct stages for the High Church party he lead. The practice of confession in the Church of England practically dates from his two sermons on The Entire Absolution of the Penitent, in 1846, which both revived high sacramental doctrine and advocated revival of the penitential system which medieval theologians had appended to it. The 1853 sermon on The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, first formulated the doctrine round which almost all his followers' theology later revolved, and revolutionized the practices of Anglican worship. Of Pusey's larger works the most important are: his two books on the Eucharist (The Doctrine of the Real Presence (1855) and The Real Presence the Doctrine of the English Church (1857)); Daniel the Prophet (supporting the traditional historical date of that book); The Minor Prophets, with Commentary (Pusey's his chief contribution to the Hebrew study of his professorship); and the Eirenicon (endeavouring to find a basis of union between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church).

Later life and legacy[edit]

In private life Pusey's habits were simple almost to austerity. He had few personal friends, and rarely mingled in general society; though bitter to opponents, he was gentle to those who knew him, and his munificent charities gave him a warm place in the hearts of many to whom he was personally unknown. In his domestic life he had some severe trials; his wife died, after eleven years of married life, in 1839; his only son, who was a scholar like-minded with himself, who had shared many of his literary labours, and who had edited an excellent edition of St Cyril's commentary on the minor prophets, died in 1880, after many years of suffering. From that time Pusey was seen by only a few persons. His strength gradually declined, and he died on 16 September 1882, after a short illness. He was buried at Oxford in the cathedral of which he had been for fifty-four years a canon. In his memory his friends purchased his library, and bought for it a house in Oxford, known as the Pusey House, which they endowed with sufficient funds to maintain three librarians, who were charged with the duty of endeavouring to perpetuate in the university the memory of the principles which he taught.

Pusey is chiefly remembered as the eponymous representative of the earlier phase of a movement which carried with it no small part of the religious life of England in the latter half of the 19th century. His own chief characteristic was an almost unbounded capacity for painstaking work. His chief influence was that of a preacher and a spiritual adviser. As a preacher he lacked all the graces of oratory, but compelled attention by his searching and practical earnestness. His correspondence as a spiritual adviser was enormous; his deserved reputation for piety and for solidity of character made him the chosen confessor to whom large numbers of men and women unburdened their doubts and their sins.

He was more a theological antiquary than a theologian. Pusey was in fact left behind by his followers, even in his lifetime. His revival of the doctrine of the Real Presence, coinciding as it did with the revival of a taste for medieval art, naturally led to a revival of the pre-Reformation ceremonial of worship. With this, Pusey had little sympathy. He protested against it (in a university sermon in 1859) and, though he came to defend those who were accused of breaking the law in their practice of it, said that their practice was alien to his own. But this revival of ceremonial became the characteristic of the new movement, and "Ritualist" thrust "Puseyite" aside. Pivotal in his own teaching was the appeal to primitive antiquity, which proved influential.

Pusey edited a series of translations of the work of the Church fathers. Among the translators was his contemporary at Christ Church, Charles Dodgson. He also befriended and assisted Dodgson's son "Lewis Carroll" when he came to Christ Church.

Veneration[edit]

The Church of England remembers Pusey annually with a feast day on the anniversary of his death; the Episcopal Church translates his memorial on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) to September 18.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Newman's Apologia, p. 136.

References[edit]

  • Strong, Rowan, and Carol Engelhardt Herringer, eds. Edward Bouverie Pusey and the Oxford Movement (Anthem Press; 2013) 164 pages; new essays by scholars
  • Faught, C. Brad (2003). The Oxford Movement: A Thematic History of the Tractarians and Their Times, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-02249-9.
  • James Harrison Rigg, Character and Life-Work of Dr Pusey (1883)
  • B. W. Savile, Dr Pusey, an Historic Sketch, with Some Account of the Oxford Movement (1883)
  • Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey by Henry Parry Liddon, completed by J. C. Johnston and R. J. Wilson (5 vols, 1893–1899),
  • Newman's Apologia, and other literature of the Oxford Movement.
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Mark Chapman, "A Catholicism of the Word and a Catholicism of Devotion: Pusey, Newman and the first Eirenicon," Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte, 14,2, 2007, 167–190.
  • Geck, Albrecht, From Modern-Orthodox Protestantism to Anglo-Catholicism: An Enquiry into the Probable Causes of the Revolution of Pusey’s Theology, in: Rowan Strong/Carol Engelhardt Herringer (edd.), Edward Bouverie Pusey and the Oxford Movement, London/New York/New Delhi (Anthem Press) 2012, 49-66.
  • Geck, Albrecht, "Pusey, Tholuck and the Oxford Movement," in: Stewart J. Brown/Peter B. Nockles (ed.), The Oxford Movement. Europe and the Wider World 1830-1930, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 2012, 168-184.
  • Geck, Albrecht (Hg.), Authorität und Glaube. Edward Bouverie Pusey und Friedrich August Gottreu Tholuck im Briefwechsel (1825–1865). Teil 1-3: in: Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte 10 (2003), 253-317; 12 (2005), 89-155; 13 (2006), 41-124.
  • Geck, Albrecht, "Edward Bouverie Pusey. Hochkirchliche Erweckung," in: Neuner, Peter/Wenz, Gunter (Hgg.), Theologen des 19. Jahrhunderts. Eine Einführung, Darmstadt 2002, 108-126.
  • Geck, Albrecht, "Friendship in Faith. E.B. Pusey (1800–1882) und F.A.G. Tholuck (1799–1877) im Kampf gegen Rationalismus und Pantheismus - Schlaglichter auf eine englisch-deutsche Korrespondenz," Pietismus und Neuzeit, 27 (2001), 91-117.
  • Geck, Albrecht, "The Concept of History in E.B. Pusey’s First Enquiry into German Theology and its German Background," Journal of Theological Studies, NS 38/2, 1987, 387-408.

External links[edit]