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Joking Apart: Exploring Comedy and Irony in Anglican Polity

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image of Ecclesiology

Congregational studies, as a distinct field of study within the broader compass of practical theology, is normally focused upon specific congregations and their issues. In this article, the ground-breaking and quixotic work of James Hopewell (1987) is used to interpret an aspect of the Anglican Communion, namely its use of humour as pivotal conduit for mediating important aspects of its identity. The article argues that, in Hopewellian terms, Anglican identity is often ‘comic-ironic’ in orientation, which allows it to imagine its future, whilst reflecting wryly upon its besetting crises. In turn, this requires ecclesiology to take more notice of the numerous amounts of ‘incidental’ material that help construct ecclesial identity.


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