Quaker Religious Thought


William Penn (1644-1718) needs little introduction among Quakers. After his convincement in the mid-1660s Penn quickly rose through the Quaker ranks as a prolific author, capable debater, and a staunch advocate for religious freedom. Beginning in 1681, he became a colonizer and traveled widely to recruit emigrants to his colony. While Penn is often touted among Friends, and sometimes reviled for his slave-owning and colonialism, Andrew R. Murphy does a great service in producing a comprehensive biography of Penn that is free from both the ahistorical anxieties and accolades Quakers sometimes resort to when considering this controversial figure. Indeed, Murphy’s book, William Penn, A Life, shows how controversial Penn was among the Quakers of his own day and in British society in general.



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