The accommodation of diversity: liberal Quakerism and nontheism

Yarlett, Stewart David (2020). The accommodation of diversity: liberal Quakerism and nontheism. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis is concerned with how Liberal Quakers accommodate a diversity of belief within their group. The project principally investigates the emergence of Quaker nontheism and the subsequent internal responses constructed as attempts to resolve the theist–nontheist divide. The thesis’s central contribution is in providing a thickened account of Liberal Quaker discursive landscape – i.e. one focused on the details of internal manifestations of emerging views and tensions. This is achieved via an engagement with sociological theories of ‘late modernity’ alongside previous work in Quaker Studies to build upon the understanding of Liberal Quaker dynamics. The thesis particularly highlights the prevalence of reflexivity within Quaker thought. Additionally, philosophical tools are developed primarily via an engagement with ‘postmodernist’ thinkers. The thesis argues that these ‘postmodernists’ respond to similar challenges to those faced by the Liberal Quakers. Consequently, the thesis demonstrates that developments in these ‘postmodernist’ projects provide comparative resources for illuminating emerging Quaker views. Accordingly, the thesis delineates Quaker responses as broadly following two streams: reflexive-structural and alteristic responses, and considers them with regard to developing expressions of Quaker identity/theology/ ‘orthodoxy’. The thesis has general implications concerning the changing shape of educated, liberal religious groups within a radically modern societal context.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
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


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