Review Of "The Creation Of Quaker Theory: Insider Perspectives" Edited By P. Dandelion

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In this collection "theory" means a framework for understanding the Society of Friends and also the effect that being insiders has on the scholarship of the 13 contributors. Except for feminism and a few examples of sociological models, what is often thought of as theory--including Marxism, deconstruction, and psychology--plays a minor role. Even when discussing the insider/outsider difficulties of studying a religious group, most authors separate their personal stances from scholarly analysis. Though there are several conflicting and provocative interpretations of Quakers, none is presented in sufficient detail to be persuasive. Two-thirds of these articles are historical or historiographical, emphasizing the 17th century and particularly the role and thoughts of George Fox. Topics include Fox as avatar, the bodily significance of quaking, the meaning of celestial flesh, apocalypticism, Gnosticism, holiness, and liberalism. All the essays are intelligent; particularly notable is Rosemary Moore's discussion of the reasons for the survival of the Society of Friends. Twentieth-century materials concentrate upon British Friends. Scholars interested in the Society of Friends will profit from reading this book, but others will find little of interest in either the contents or methodology. The complete bibliography is valuable. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate students and faculty/researchers.


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