Examine the changing social climate of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from the perspective of influential Anglican bishop Brooke Foss Westcott. Westcott addresses the rising popularity of socialism as an ideology and individualism as a practice, pointing Christians back to the power of their creed. He offers examples of socialism not as a political idea, but as a way of faithful adherence to Christian precepts. Trace the history of Western religious thought, examine the many social aspects of life in the church, and address issues of perennial social problems in light of the Incarnation. Westcott’s insights and reminders remain fresh and relevant for today’s society.
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In this brief paper, Brooke Foss Westcott treats the essential idea of socialism, separate from its connection to political and revolutionary schemes, as an important concept for young clergy. Westcott states, “Individualism and Socialism correspond with opposite views of humanity.” He contrasts the method and aim of the two ideologies, and calls for “a new social application of the Gospel.”
This collection of sermons addresses elements of social life and its organization from a Christian perspective. Brooke Foss Westcott discusses the foundation of Christianity, as well as social elements like family, nation, race, and the church. He examines the social organization of the Franciscans and the Quakers as examples, and identifies the problems of a Christian social ideal.
Brooke Foss Westcott presents lectures in church history from his tenure at Cambridge as regius professor of divinity. He follows three courses: the early persecutions, the age of Constantine, and the Nicene Council.
Essays in the History of Religious Thought in the West
Brooke Foss Westcott applies the Christian creed to many life problems, contrasting the society of his time with the Apostolic church. He identifies areas where we need to modify our practices “to cultivate generally the capacity for delight in the common treasures of manhood . . . [and] to see God in his works and in his working.” He discusses the national church, foreign missions, education, social service, and social relationships.
Brooke Foss Westcott was the first president of the Christian Social Union, and he gave this series of addresses at their annual meetings from 1894 to 1900. Among the topics discussed by Westcott are expenditure, social service, Christian law, and the aim and method of education.
Brooke Foss Westcott treats the subject of work in light of the incarnation, and “how this central fact of history . . . illuminates the problems which meet us alike in our daily work and in our boldest speculations.”