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PPR 489d: Quaker Theology in Context (Distance Learning)


This module contributes to the Certificate and MA programmes by introducing students to key theological ideas espoused by the leaders of early Quakerism and how these concepts have been changed and adapted across time and across new traditions of Quakerism worldwide. It is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of theological innovation and constancy across global Quaker history. Understanding Quaker theology is central to the understanding of international Quakerism. The decentralised structure of international Quaker ecclesiology allows competing theologies to each assume its primacy whereas the reality is of complex layers of theological meaning and religious identity amongst a global Quaker community. This module introduces students to ways of conceptualizing Quaker theology and concepts within Quaker theology to better understand global Quakerism in the 21st century:

  • What has primary religious authority for Quakers? Scripture, revelation or tradition?
  • What are the current forms and features of Quaker theology in the main traditions?
  • On which concepts do Quakers worldwide best agree and most disagree?
  • How does theological change occur?
  • How has Quaker theology changed over time?
  • Is Quaker theology best understood in terms of eschatology, mysticism, or perfection?

The teaching focuses on the theology of different traditions rather than on noteworthy lives of Quakers. The way in which different theologies have different consequences for relationships between Quakers and ‘the world’ is also explored. Lectures podcasting and online discussion activities will be complemented by live online seminars through video conferencing facility. Distance learning students will have a lot of opportunities of online interaction with peers and tutors.

Suggested Key Readings:

Dandelion, Pink (2007) An Introduction to Quakerism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Punshon, John. Portrait in Grey: a short history of the Quakers. London: Quaker Home Service, 1984, reprinted 2007.


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