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Edward Bouverie Pusey

Pusey, Edward Bouverie (pyōˈzē) [key], 1800–1882, English clergyman, leader in the Oxford movement. Having studied at Christ Church College, Oxford, Pusey was elected a fellow of Oriel College (1823) and thus became associated with John Keble, John Henry Newman, and their group. He studied theology and Semitic languages at Göttingen and Berlin and then wrote (1828–30) a critical history of German theology; however, the work was misunderstood as a defense of German rationalism, and Pusey later withdrew it. In 1828 he was ordained an Anglican priest, was made regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford, and was appointed canon of Christ Church, a position he retained for the rest of his life. In late 1833 he formally aligned himself with the Oxford movement; the tracts on fasting (1834) and baptism (1836) in the series Tracts for the Times were Pusey's. As his tract on fasting was the first one not published anonymously the movement was sometimes known, usually derogatorily, as Puseyism. From 1836, Pusey was editor of the influential Library of Fathers and contributed several studies of patristic works. When Newman withdrew from the Oxford movement in 1841, Pusey became its leader. His influence in the High Church party was widened when he was suspended from preaching for two years because of the ideas expressed in his sermon, "The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent" (1843). He advocated the doctrine of the Real Presence, which holds that the body and blood of Christ are actually (and not symbolically or figuratively) present in the sacrament. In 1845 he assisted in the establishment of the first Anglican sisterhood and throughout his life continued his efforts toward establishing Anglican orders. His sermon "The Entire Absolution of the Penitent" (1846) claimed for the Church of England the right of priestly absolution, thus establishing the Anglican practice of private confession. His sermon "The Rule of Faith" (1851) was credited with checking the secessions to Roman Catholicism that had been accelerated by his suspension and by the controversy over the Gorham case, which involved the right of the privy council to adjudicate on matters of church doctrine. In the 1850s and 60s he published several works on the Real Presence and on the faults of rationalist methods of contemporary biblical scholarship. He strongly defended High Church doctrines that supported ritualism, although he was never a ritualist himself. His Eirenicon (3 parts, 1865–70), an endeavor to find some ground for reuniting Roman Catholicism and the Church of England, was answered by Cardinal Newman and generated considerable controversy. His name is perpetuated in Pusey House at Oxford, where his library is maintained.

See biographies by H. P. Liddon (4 vol., 1893–97), M. Trench (1900), and G. L. Prestige (1933); C. C. Grafton, Pusey and the Church Revival (1914); G. Faber, Oxford Apostles (1933).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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