Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

A History of Episcopal Divinity School: In Celebration of Its Twenty-Fifth Anniversary

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

A History of Episcopal Divinity School: In Celebration of Its Twenty-Fifth Anniversary

Article excerpt

MATTHEW PETER CADWELL. A History of Episcopal Divinity School: In Celebration of its Twenty-fifth Anniversary. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Trustees of the Episcopal Divinity School, 2000. Pp. 1 + 83, illustrations. No price (paper).

The attempt to capture the history of an institution is more difficult than that of chronicling the history of an idea or an individual, for there are not as many well-marked avenues available to the author to follow. In the case of the Episcopal Divinity School (KDS), Matthew Peter Cadwell opted not so much to discuss the people and infrastructure that make up the history of the school, but rather to show how KDS reflected various historical trends within the church it serves. In this regard, the book is a success and will be warmly welcomed. Some historians and alumni/ea, on the other hand, may wish that Cadwell had chosen a different path altogether.

It is obvious to the reader why Cadwell chose the path he did, however. Episcopal Divinity School was born of the merger of two older institutions, the Philadelphia Divinity School and the Episcopal Theological School, as part of a wider denominational initiative to consolidate and reorientate their seminaries toward serving diverse and urban parishes. This effort coincided with other changes that swept the Episcopal Church during the 1970s. The denomination and its schools widened ordination to include first women and then homosexuals, started considering new theological paradigms and ecumenism, as well as liturgical reforms that were extended beyond adoption of a new Prayer Book.

As Cadwell notes, these debates and changes helped to shape the institution EDS became. The school was at the vanguard of women's ordination, including having ties with the Philadelphia Kleven. Because of this involvement, EDS soon welcomed other movements that focused on social justice themes and marginalized groups. When liturgical reform arrived on campus, chapel services became places for advocating more reforms than the 1979 Prayer Book called for. …

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