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Quaker Studies

Abstract

On their journeys through the Dutch Republic and the German territories, seventeenth-century Quaker missionaries came into contact with a wide variety of religiously inspired groups and individuals. This article considers some problems of conventional historiographical approaches to the new religious diversity in early modern Europe. Persecution was an especially important issue for travelling ministers. Despite their own experience, some religious radicals strongly objected to the Quaker view on persecution, so that, among others, 'sufferings' became a controversial subject. This article argues that controversy was part of a transnational process of mapping out the new, radical spectrum in which many religious radicals were actively involved. Dynamics within this spectrum can also be argued to have contributed to a new culture of religious debate. Two examples of contemporary response to Quaker 'sufferings' are presented and discussed with this wider perspective in mind.

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