Quaker Studies


Two prominent Quaker ministers, English Thomas Shillitoe and American Elias Hicks, at the end of their long lives of exhortation devoted to the mission of persuading others to follow the will of God, came together on the American continent in 1826-29. They turned out to be key players on opposite sides in the struggle which ended with the splitting of American Friends into two antagonistic groups, the Orthodox and the Hicksite.

Through a close reading of the journals of these two men, supplemented by biographies and other relevant materials, this paper analyzes similarities and differences in their views on humanity and the means of salvation, their messages and motivations, and traces cultural, environmental and personal factors that may have contributed to their divergence.

The basic question it examines is how two Quaker contemporaries, similarly schooled and practiced and totally sincere in following the leading of the Holy Spirit, could end so totally opposed.



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