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New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650-1800$
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Michele Lise Tarter and Catie Gill

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198814221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198814221.001.0001

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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: 07 December 2021

Margaret Fell, Mother of the New Jerusalem

Margaret Fell, Mother of the New Jerusalem

(p.186) 10 Margaret Fell, Mother of the New Jerusalem
New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650-1800

Kristianna Polder

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the radical matriarchal identity of Margaret Fell (1614–1702), an indispensable figure in early Quakerism who promoted, funded, defended, and monitored the growth of the movement both in the north of England, where she was based, and across Great Britain. Fell’s identity as the ‘mother of Quakerism’ has been frequently associated with more apparently private roles, such as that of wife and mother. Fell instead lived as a Spiritual Mother in the context of the arrival of ‘the New Jerusalem’, an apocalyptic framework that challenged gendered social constraints and freed women from the curse of mother Eve. Various vignettes from Fell’s biography reveal matriarchal activities that were countercultural and politically assertive. Fell emerges as an autonomous and powerful mother, wife, and Spiritual Matriarch, free from the strictures of seventeenth-century society.

Keywords:   Spiritual Mother, Eve, New Jerusalem, matriarch, identity

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