For a hundred and fifty years after the period covered by this collection of essays, and indeed well into the twentieth century, Robert Barclay's Apology for the True Christian Divinity was considered the standard expression of Quaker theology. The historical investigations of Quaker origins that took place from the mid-nineteenth century onwards led to the understanding that the ideas of the first Quakers differed from those of the later seventeenth century, and hence to a number of studies that considered in particular the position and thought of George Fox. However, there was more to seventeenth-century Quakerism than Fox and Barclay, and the preceding chapters in this volume illustrate the variety and range of Quaker theology and activity. The question that is now being addressed in this Afterword is what is the link between them all?. All Quaker theology is in a sense a unity. It has been observed that Quakerism had its origins in c. 1646-7 with a group of ex-Baptists near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, who met as a Separated church. As one of them wrote, “George Fox came amongst them … where the mighty power of the Lord was manifest, that startled their former separate meeting and some came no more, but most, that were convinced of the truth, stood … and embraced it.” The “mighty power of the Lord” and the associated “quaking” was the characteristic that later gave Quakers their name. “Startled” was a stronger term in the seventeenth century than it is at present, and those who “came no more” had been utterly shocked by this experience. Those who “stood” were convinced that God had come among them in great power. These first Quakers were charismatics, and most lurid descriptions were published of their behavior. People were being drawn into “absurd and unreasonable … principles and practices; by running up and down the country to act in quakings and trances, and drawing many people after them.” “Wandering ministers” left their homes to preach and cried in the streets, “everyone that will, imagining he is called to it.” They looked for “extraordinary raptures, inspirations, miracles,” and they promised “the casting out of Devils.
|Title of host publication||Early Quakers and Their Theological Thought, 1647-1723|
|Editors||Stephen Angell, Pink Dandelion|
|Place of Publication||Cambridge|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
- Quaker theology