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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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Early Quaker Women and the Testimony of the Family, 1652–1767

Early Quaker Women and the Testimony of the Family, 1652–1767

(p.50) 3 Early Quaker Women and the Testimony of the Family, 1652–1767
New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650-1800

Stephen W. Angell

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the evolution of the Quaker testimony of the family from a primarily Puritan one, in which the Christian equality sought is spiritual, but not necessarily temporal, to one more closely resembling Anabaptist theory, in which spiritual and temporal equality are understood as going hand in hand. It focuses on women and men in small, but wealthy, Quaker communities in Barbados and South Carolina, in which slavery flourished during this time period. Servants, and initially slaves, were regarded as part of the Quaker family, but it explores reasons relating to nonviolence, sectarian endogamy, and childrearing through which slavery increasingly came to be seen as incompatible with the Quaker family. Since Quakers began to disregard biblical passages relating to family that countenanced slavery, this chapter posits that revelation from Christ’s Light became an increasingly important support for evolving Quaker understandings of family.

Keywords:   testimony, family, equality, servitude, slavery, endogamy, Barbados, South Carolina

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