An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Tracts for the Times

Ninety publications issued by the leaders of the Oxford Movement in England. The first tract, Thoughts on the Ministerial Commission, Respectfully Addressed to the Clergy, was written by John Henry Newman and appeared on Sept. 9, 1833. Tract 90, Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles, was issued on Jan. 25, 1841, and was also written by Newman. The later tracts were more extensive in scope than the first tracts. Controversy over Newman's Tract 90 led to the end of the publication of new tracts. The Oxford Movement is also called Tractarianism, and the writers and their supporters are called Tractarians. The Tracts emphasized high church doctrines, such as the authority of the ordained ministry derived from ordination at the hands of a bishop in the historic episcopate, the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, baptismal regeneration, and the church as a divine institution. In addition to Newman, the Tractarians included Edward Bouverie Pusey, John Keble, Arthur P. Perceval, Richard H. Froude, and Isaac Williams. The Tractarian Movement was also known as “Puseyism.” Pusey put his initials on Tract 18 (1833), which concerned the benefits of the church's system of fasting. Earlier Tracts had been published anonymously. Pusey's name provided another name for this movement, although at times “Puseyism” was used pejoratively. The Tracts were first published in the United States in 1839, and were especially popular at the General Theological Seminary. The Tracts contributed to the rise of an Anglo-Catholic party in the Episcopal Church. See Keble, John; see Newman, John Henry; see Pusey, Edward Bouverie.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.