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Paul Avis' Recent Publications


The Anglican Understanding of the Church: An Introduction

What is 'the Church'?

The Anglican answer to this question is clearly given in this short guide to the origins, structure, ministry and values of the Churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion.  Paul Avis explains and clarifies the history and theology involved.  The reader is introduced to the concepts in a structured way, making the book clear to those who may be coming to these issues for the first time.  It will form an invaluable aide-mémoire and reference tool for the specialist, presenting a clear outline of the structure, form, function, disposition and beliefs of the Church.  Concise and informative, this is an ideal handbook and textbook.  

London: SPCK ,2000.  ISBN 0-281-05282-4

Publisher's website


God and the Creative Imagination: Metaphor, Symbol and Myth in Religion and Theology

'A mere metaphor', 'only symbolic', 'just a myth' - these tell-tale phrases reveal how figurative language has been cheapened and devalued in our modern and postmodern culture.  In God and the Creative Imagination, Paul Avis argues the contrary: we see that actually, metaphor, symbol and myth, are the key to a real knowledge of God and the Sacred.  Avis examines what he calls an alternative tradition, stemming from the Romantic poets Blake, Wordsworth and Keats and drawing on the thought of Coleridge and Newman.  

God and the Creative Imagination intriguingly draws on a number of non-theological disciplines, from literature to philosophy of science, to show us that God is appropriately likened to an artist or poet and that the greatest truths are expressed in an imaginative form.  

"...there will be much to learn  from the helpful summaries of recent literature, which are....judicious and fair."  Expository Times

London: Routledge, 1999.  ISBN 0-415-21503-X   

Publisher's website


Anglican Orders and the Priesting of Women

What authority does a branch of the Christian Church have to depart from the unbroker tradition and unilaterally to ordain women to the priesthood of the Church?  What are the consequences for the orders of women preists and for ecumenical relations?  These questions are considered in the light of objections to women's ordination and the implications of the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae of 1896 which declared Anglican orders 'null and void'

London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1999.  ISBN 0-232-52309-6


Divine Revelation

Edited by Paul Avis, this volume seeks to redress the deficiency of comprehensive resources on the topic of revelation.  The contributors, originating from England, Scotland, Ireland, the United States and Canada, represent a spectrum of religious traditions and views.  The aim is to provide biblical, historical, contemporary and reflective resources on the ways in which divine revaltion has been understood in the history of Christian theology and is now understood in theological discussion.  

"This collection...carefully reflects the many twists and turns  in the discussion of revelation in modern theology.  ...the result is a series of careful and highly instructive discussion of topics from Revelation and Critical Theory to Revelation in Feminist Philosophy and Theology. ...If we ever thought that revelation is a monochrome concept with a single agreed role in theology, reading this collection will persuade us otherwise."  Expository Times

Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997  ISBN 0-8028-4219-4


Faith in the Fires of Criticism: Christianity in Modern Thought

Have the 'fires' of modern criticism melted away Christianity's claim to truth?  Seminal thinkers such as Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud argued that religious belief is nothing more than an illusion, triggered by our own psychological and social needs.  Jung claimed that traditional Christianity was a gross distortion of the divine.  


Paul Avis argues that it is possible to take seriously both human distortions  of religious truth and also the reality of the transcendent God.  These in-depth studies of the most unsparing critics of Christianity point to the possibility of a faith chastened and refined in the fires of criticism

London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1995.  ISBN 0-232-52131-X

Church, State and Establishment

From the Preface:

Our focus in this book is the national context of the Church and its mission. I will be asking such questions as: What does it mean to be a truly national Church with a nationwide mission of service and witness? Is this a monopoly of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland in Britain? What sort of relationship between church and state has theological integrity? How many varieties of ‘establishment’ are there among the Christian traditions? Is the established status of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland a help or a hindrance to their mission? How might the relationship of the churches to civil society develop more ecumenically? What are the realistic hopes for churches united in a national mission?

London: SPCK, 2000.  

Publisher's website 


Paul Avis' Forthcoming Publications


The Christian Church: An Introduction to the Major Traditions

Edited by Paul Avis.  Contributors include: Nicholas Lossky on the Orthodox Tradition, David Fergusson on the Reformed Churches, Michael Root on Lutheranism and Paul Avis on the Anglican Communion.  

London: SPCK, 2002

Publisher's website 


Anglicanism and the Christian Church: Theological Resources in Historical Perspective, revised edition.  

A major revision, expansion and rewriting  of the standard work on the development of Anglican ecclesiology, originally published in 1989 and long out of print.  

T&T Clark, 2002

Publisher's website

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