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Laura Rediehs

Abstract

Quakerism emerged in the seventeenth century, during a time when philosophical debates about the nature of knowledge led to the emergence of modern science. The Quakers, in some conversation with early modern philosophers, developed a distinctive epistemology rooted in their concept of the Light Within, which functioned as a special internal sense giving access to divine insight. The Light Within provided illumination both to properly understand the Bible and to ‘read’ the Book of Nature. This epistemology can be thought of as an expanded experiential empiricism that integrates our ethical and religious knowledge with our scientific knowledge. This epistemology has carried through in Quaker thought to the present day and can be helpful in the context of today’s epistemological crisis.

Maria Kennedy

Abstract

This work is a sociological study of Quakers, which investigates the impact that sectarianism has had on identity construction within the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland. The research highlights individual Friends’ complex and hybrid cultural, national and theological identities, mirrored by the Society’s corporate identity. This publication focuses specifically on examples of political and theological hybridity. These hybrid identities resulted in tensions that impact on relationships between Friends and the wider organisation. How Friends negotiate and accommodate these diverse identities is explored. It is argued that Irish Quakers prioritise ‘relational unity’ and have developed a distinctive approach to complex identity management. It is asserted that in the two Irish states, ‘Quaker’ represents a meta-identity, which is counter-cultural in its non-sectarianism, although this is more problematic within the organisation. Furthermore, by modelling an alternative, non-sectarian identity, Quakers in Ireland contribute to building capacity for transformation from oppositional, binary identities to more fluid and inclusive ones.

Quaker Studies: An Overview

The Current State of the Field

C. Wess Daniels, Robynne Rogers Healey, Jon R. Kershner, Stephen W. Angell and Pink Dandelion

Abstract

In this introductory volume to Brill’s series on Quaker Studies, Quaker Studies, An Overview: The Current State of the Field, C. Wess Daniels, Robynne Rogers Healey, and Jon Kershner investigate Quaker Studies, divided into the three fields of history, theology and philosophy, and sociology.

With a focus on schisms, transatlantic networks, colonialism, abolition, gender and equality, and pacifism from Quaker origins onward, Healey explores the rich diversity and complexity of research and interpretation that has emerged in Quaker history.

In his chapter, Kershner explores comparisons and divergences in contemporary Quaker theology and philosophy. Special attention is paid to Quaker biblical hermeneutics, mysticism, ethics, epistemology and Global Quakerism.

Daniels looks at the sociology of Quakerism as a new field of study that has only recently begun to be explored and developed. This chapter surveys the field of sociological work done within Quakerism from the 1960s to the present day.

The Frontiers of Mission

Perspectives on Early Modern Missionary Catholicism

Series:

Edited by Alison Forrestal and Seán Alexander Smith

In exploring the shifting realities of missionary experience during the course of imperialist ventures and the Catholic Reformation, The Frontiers of Mission: Perspectives on Early Modern Missionary Catholicism provides a fresh assessment of the challenges that the Catholic church encountered at the frontiers of mission in the early modern era. Bringing together leading international scholars, the volume tests the assumption that uniformity and co-ordination governed early modern missionary enterprise, and examines the effects of distance and de-centering on a variety of missionaries and religious orders. Its essays focus squarely on the experiences of the missionaries themselves to offer a nuanced consideration of the meaning of ‘missionary Catholicism’, and its evolving relationship with newly discovered cultures and political and ecclesiastical authorities.

Series:

Richard J. Serina

Scholarship has recognized fifteenth-century speculative thinker Nicholas of Cusa for his early contributions to conciliar theory, but not his later ecclesiastical career as cardinal, residential bishop, preacher, and reformer. Richard Serina shows that, as bishop in the Tyrolese diocese of Brixen from 1452 to 1458, and later as resident cardinal in Rome, Nicolas of Cusa left a testament to his view of reform in the sermons he preached to monks, clergy, and laity. These 171 sermons, in addition to his Reformatio generalis of 1459, reflect an intellectual coming to terms with the challenge of reform in the late medieval church, and in response creatively incorporating metaphysics, mystical theology, ecclesiology, and personal renewal into his preaching of reform.