F. D. Maurice (1805-72) was one of the most controversial thinkers of mid-nineteenth century Britain. Born a Unitarian, he left Cambridge without a degree rather than compromise his principles. As an Anglican theologian, he uneasily combined Unitarian ideas with the teaching of the Establishment. Sacked from King's College, London, for questioning popular teaching about everlasting punishment, he led a movement to improve working men's education.
Yet although Maurice came from a Unitarian family and counted leading Unitarians as his friends, their influence on his work has never been seriously examined. The purpose of this new book is to look at his life and teaching in the light of Unitarianism. Maurice's faith had a distinctly Christological emphasis, but he continued to value his Unitarian heritage. His concern with the Fatherhood of God and the dignity of the human race owes much to his family background.
Dr. Young's study opens with a compact history of Unitarianism during the lifetimes of F. D. Maurice and his father, a Unitarian minister. A series of biographical sketches draws on hitherto unpublished material to set Maurice's work in its historic context. Final chapters compare the central themes of his theology with the teaching of his Unitarian contemporaries.
`fair and judicious ... Young makes it easier to understand why Maurice came to be surrounded by younger people to whom he could be `the master', in a sense both father and teacher'
Journal of Theological Studies
`Dr Young's book performs a valuable service.'
'a scholarly work ... Dr Young has provided the story of a splendid family amid the upheavals of theological differences with richly-laden chapters on the ethos of Unitarianism with sharp-edged portraits and the life of a scholar, controversy notwithstanding, who greatly influenced many in his day and whose word is cogent. The extensive bibliography is its own measuring rod of a comprehensive history and biography.'
'Dr Young's book performs a valuable service. His positive and appreciative approach, even in disagreement, will help us avoid the danger of sinking to a common mediocrity by trying to bring out the best, which is often the most distinctive, in each other.'
Daniel Jenkins, Church Times, March 1993
'It offers a compact history of Unitarianism during the lives of F.D. Maurice and his father.'
The Unitarian, No. 1072, May 1993
'to be welcomed ... it is good that in this book David Young puts Maurice back on the agenda of 19th-century historical theology ... What is more is that Young gets Maurice right. It is also good that Young has provided us with another contribution to the literature of nonconformist historical theology ... David Young is to be congratulated.'
Martin Groves, The Expository Times, Volume 104, July 1993
This book is a model of theological biography. It is written with great clarity and sensitivity for its subject. It also makes a very significant contribution to our knowledge of nineteenth century British theology ... David Young presents a fascinating and formidable well researched picture of Unitarian thought and doctrine. Scottish Journal of Theology
'a welcome new study of that enigmatic prophet of Nineteenth-century Anglicanism ... David Young's book is the result of careful and painstaking research. He goes far toward unravelling the enigma of Maurice.'
Frank M. McClain, Anglican Theological Review, LXXV:3
'Young provides an interesting and valuable overview of Unitarian history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century...Young has mined the sources of Unitarian history to find information to support his own argument, and produced an interesting and readable book.'
Jeffrey Cox, Albion, Vol 25, No 3, Fall 1993
'valuable new study of Maurice...'
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol 44, No 4, 1993
'admirable study...A deeply researched contribution to historical theology.'
A R Vogeler, Choice, July/August 1993
'Anyone who wants to know what is wrong with the twentieth-century Church of England could learn a lot from reading this book ... highly illuminating book ... This book is clearly set out, easy to read and well-documented ... should add a new dimension to studies of this eminent Victorian, and may help a few of our contemporaries to understand more clearly where the current doctrinal ambience of the Church of England derives from.'
Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Alabama, Anvil, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1994
'a valuable addition to the Maurice literature ... This fine thesis, tenaciously worked at when other duties must have been pressing, is all the more admirable, as well as illuminating, for being a labour of love.'
Perry Butler, Heythrop Journal
Part One: English Unitarianism
1: Origin and development
2: Teaching and practice
Part Two: F.D. Maurice: Biographical sketches
3: Parental & family influences
4: Years of transition
5: Maurice among the Unitarians
6: Maurice's social witness
Part Three: Theological Perspectives
7: God the Father
8: Divine and human unity
9: The Atonement
10: The dignity of man
11: Eternal life
12: The Christian church, its sacraments and ministry
13: Spiritual knight-errant