During the 1650s, James Nayler was one of the most important leaders of the emerging Quaker movement in England and, arguably, its most effective preacher and writer. However, his legacy has been dominated by events that took place in the summer and autumn of 1656, leading to a conviction for blasphemy, brutal public punishment, and imprisonment. Official histories of Quaker beginnings portrayed him as a gifted, but flawed, character, who brought the Quaker movement into disrepute, and prompted a concern for corporate order. Scholarship during the past century has begun to question this received position. However, a continued preoccupation with his ‘fall’ has tended to overshadow interpretations of his writings. In this volume, Stuart Masters seeks to identify a number of important theological themes visible within Nayler’s works, and to locate them within their radical religious context. He argues that a powerful Christological vision at the heart of Nayler’s religious thought engendered a practical theology with radical political, economic, and ecological implications.

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Stuart Masters is a Learning and Research Team Leader at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham, UK. His research and teaching focuses on early Quaker spirituality and theology, Christian doctrine, and the relationship between Quakerism and other Christian traditions.
All interested in early Quaker theology and spirituality, and its relationship to the wider religious and political context of seventeenth-century England.
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