A Study of perceptions of God and of relationship to God among seventeenth century and modern British Quakers

Wood, Terence Arthur (2015). A Study of perceptions of God and of relationship to God among seventeenth century and modern British Quakers. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis argues that current debates about belief within present-day British Quakerism misrepresent the nature of Quaker faith and practice by over-emphasising particular aspects of the way in which Quakers have traditionally talked about God, namely, seeking to understand the mystery of divinity and the role of the divine will in relation to human intuition and reason in guiding behaviour. By comparing texts from the seventeenth and twenty/twenty-first century, using a quantitative method, it is demonstrated that there is a consistency across time in the way in which Quakers have perceived God and their relationship to God. By treating ‘performance’ (how adherents follow the will of God) and ‘transformation’ (how adherents experience their relationship with God) as dualistic and by using different strategies to avoid the challenge of empiricism, present-day Quakers appear dis-united in their internal theological disagreements. This thesis argues that Quaker faith and practice is more accurately understood, in both periods, as a single axis, running between performance and transformation and that this pattern of believing and belonging avoids internal disputes, which are misplaced. The method of analysis itself also provides a contribution to academic understanding of how patterns of belief and behaviour can be analysed

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5481


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