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Clergy The Origin of Species by Very Revd Prof. Martyn Percy


Clergy The Origin of Species by Very Revd Prof. Martyn Percy

This work explores the origins and development of the clergy using a variety of sources and insights from thinkers such as Darwin and Foucault. Martyn Percy, journalist, author, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon and Anglican Priest takes a serious but often humorous look at how the role of clergy has evolved over the years. This is a lively and engaging study including anecdotes and familiar cultural references such as the influence of the Vicar of Dibley on public perceptions of the clergy and a discussion of clerical dress. Keen to dispel romantic notions of the clergy Percy's study is informed by personal experience and the practical realities of being a parish priest. To encourage his readers to a new way of thinking about theologies of ministry in relation to their context and environment he examines three arenas: changing nature of clerical identity; role of the culture as an agent of change; and the function of churches, denominations and congregations as resistors and accomodators of cultural change. Percy's conclusion is that to survive the clergy need to adapt to their cultural environment whilst at the same time retaining a certain distance.


This is an important and timely book...and offers a wide range of insights into many of the problems and issues that face the church today. --Sanford Lakoff a delightful, provocative, interesting and a very informative book.

Martyn Percy offers not just history and theology, but also carefully considered and wide understanding.

a book well worth reading, enjoying and pondering over. --Sanford Lakoff I welcome a book that takes the context of ministry seriously. Martyn Percy is particularly well-placed to do this - combining the insights of sociology and theology in order to think in new ways about the ministerial task. This book is for scholars and practitioners alike.--Sanford Lakoff 'Utilising the metaphorical rubric of evolution Martyn Percy reframes the theology of ministry by looking at the adaption of ecclesiology and clerical practice to and through cultural change. What this compelling thesis achieves is to provide a practical theology of ministry grounded in social reality rather than a fixed and unchanging theology plucked from the skies.
Professor Andrew Walker, King

's College, London--Sanford Lakoff'

About the Author

Martyn Percy is Principal, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, UK. From 1997-2004 he was Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society. Martyn has recently been appointed honorary Professor at King's College, London, UK, and also holds an Adjunct Professorship of Theology and Ministry at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, USA.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th October 2006


Very Revd Prof. Martyn Percy

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


208 pages




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