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From revelation to resource: the natural world in the thought and experience of Quakers in Britain and Ireland, 1647-1830

Morries, Geoffrey Peter (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis explores the place of the natural world in the spiritual and intellectual lives of British and Irish Quakers (Friends) from the earliest evidence in 1647 up to the rise of evangelical Quakerism around 1830. Whilst Quakers agreed that God had made and continued to uphold the creation, responses to the natural world were, after the Restoration, essentially individualistic, giving rise to diverse views of its place in theology. Overall, it is shown that there was a shift away from the unity of the first Quakers’ experience that both God and the creation could be truly known only through divine revelation, towards support for the scientific study of the material world, and forms of natural theology. It is argued that this was the result of personal experience, not of synergies between empiricism and orthodox Quaker theology. Although reservations about its status continued, for an increasing number of Quakers, nature was a resource in a divinely-inspired search for order and truth. Although the subject is almost absent from contemporary official records of the Society of Friends, the natural world became a significant part of the wider Quaker culture of the 19th century.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Dandelion, Pink
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
Subjects:BL Religion
BX Christian Denominations
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:631
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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