Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Notes upon the Penal Law of the Protestant Episcopal Church, with a Draft of a General Canon

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Notes upon the Penal Law of the Protestant Episcopal Church, with a Draft of a General Canon

Article excerpt

Notes Upon the Penal Law of the Protestant Episcopal Church, With a Draft of a General Canon. By Murray Hoffman, Esq. Rpt of the 1853 edition. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2014, Pp. viii, 103. $10.00.)

This book presents the rare situation of two unmentioned elephants in the same room. One is the case of the suspended Bishop Benjamin Onderdonk, of New York, and the other is the related matter of contentious and partisan Episcopal churchmanship battles of the whole of the nineteenth century. Without some awareness of those two matters, a reader will not understand the careful parsing of conflicting legal, moral, and procedural possibilities described in this book. Murray Hoffman was a sometime judge in the Superior Court of the City of New York. He wrote with the manner of one whose judgment would likely be questioned and reviewed, and who therefore needs to provide both careful citations and reasoning to buttress the position presented. He has done so quite well.

The title of the book is somewhat misleading. While the envisioned sample canon includes civil offences which come under the umbrella of penal its greater scope has to do with discipline within the church. Had this canon been adopted, it would principally have dealt with matters of propriety and behavior within the church. Without saying so, Hoffman's proposal seems to have envisioned litigious action on the basis of churchmanship differences at the local level, but mitigation and dismissal at the appellate level. …

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