Quaker Studies


This study uses the evidence of one Meeting House's collection of old books to explore Quaker understanding of the experience of reading. The Religious Society of Friends sought to exercise considerable control over the literary interests of its members, but charges of narrow-mindedness need to be set against the wider historical context and the practice of teaching literacy to all Quaker children. In addition to the patriarchal tone found in much advice and commentary on reading, Quaker books reflected concerns about both rationalism and evangelical 'biblicism'. Although books were an important consolidating and educating force within the Society, reading as an intellectual pursuit was regarded as being of limited value to Quaker faith.



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