'To bring the work to greater perfection': systematising governance in the Church of Scotland, 1696–1800

Mutch, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-8054-6649, 2014. 'To bring the work to greater perfection': systematising governance in the Church of Scotland, 1696–1800. The Scottish Historical Review, 93 (2), pp. 240-261. ISSN 1750-0222


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Following the confirmation of Presbyterian government in the Church of Scotland in 1690, a number of attempts were made to codify the governance practices that were to be followed in the various ruling bodies of the church. A review of these attempts indicates a distinctive approach to governance based on detailed record keeping and the monitoring of activities based on these records. While the church never managed to agree on a complete manual of procedure, a review of responses to the proposals suggests substantial conformance with their main precepts. Not only did these precepts contribute to the consolidation of the Presbyterian settlement of 1690, they also provided a legalistic and systemic cast to organisational structures and practices. This then shaped a distinctive ‘culture of organisation’ which, in conjunction with other institutions such as education, provided to-hand resources for the widely noted Scottish competence in administration. A focus on administrative practices in their cultural and social context provides a basis for assessing claims to Scottish distinctiveness and influence.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: The Scottish Historical Review
Creators: Mutch, A.
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Place of Publication: Edinburgh
Date: 2014
Volume: 93
Number: 2
ISSN: 1750-0222
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:42
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:08
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1477

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