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Quakers, Christ, and the Enlightenment$
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Madeleine Pennington

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192895271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192895271.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 July 2021

Explaining Continuity and Change

Explaining Continuity and Change

(p.44) 2 Explaining Continuity and Change
Quakers, Christ, and the Enlightenment

Madeleine Pennington

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 establishes the limitations of a purely socio-political account of the changes explored in Chapter 1. The Quakers were not altogether removed from social and political motivations. However, as this chapter systematically demonstrates, the notion that they were merely seeking political ‘respectability’ fails to explain the pace and scope of the changes affecting the Quaker movement during this period. Rather, the Quakers were seeking to bolster their ‘theological reputation’, through a concerted refinement of their theology as a means of strengthening their ecclesial claim to ‘true Christianity’. Unlike respectability narratives, the quest for theological reputation was not subordinated to the concerns of their opponents, but involved appeals both to Christian doctrine and the proactive assertion of Quaker values, as well as the interplay between the two. At the heart of this process was a concern to make sense of the Quakers’ experience of Christ within and amongst them

Keywords:   respectability, orthodoxy, primitivism, theological reputation, sect, denominationalism, H. Richard Niebuhr

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