Edited By Stephen G. Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis
6 The Overlooked Ecumenical Background to the Development of English Religious Education
During the 1960s and 1970s, a new chapter in the history of English Religious Education began. Christian Confessionalism, whereby children were nurtured in and encouraged to adopt the Christian faith, was swept aside (Barnes, 2006). It was replaced, according to the oversimplified narrative that has been allowed to develop, by a phenomenological (multi-faith) approach that enabled ‘students both to gain an authentic understanding of religion and develop the virtue of tolerance’ (Schools Council, 1971b). These developments have been widely promulgated and discussed. There is a wealth of historical analysis undertaken through the lenses of pedagogy, curriculum theory and policy (Bates, 1996; Barnes & Wright, 2006; Copley, 2008). However, among other methodological limitations of the current approach, a robust theological analysis is lacking (Copley, 2008; Teece, 2010; Freathy & Parker, 2010). The lack of critical evaluation has thus allowed the aforementioned oversimplified narrative to gain wide acceptance and to influence the development of Religious Education. To address this misconstruction, this paper uses primary and secondary historical sources to examine the current ‘ruling’ historiography of English Religious Education. It foregrounds the importance of international developments in ecumenical theology during the 1960s and 1970s, especially a resurgence in ecumenical interest in education and the development of dialogue between Christians and those of other world-views, both religious and non-religious, that was increasingly seen as a legitimate activity of the Christian Church, principally in the light of Nostra Aetate and the World Council of Churches (WCC, 1970). ← 139 | 140 →
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.