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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Quakers were pamphleteers: their texts were contemporary, purposive works that engaged the readership in prescient matters of religio-political polemic. This chapter traces how the movement kept pace with change through its pamphleteering, and how it sought to develop the public’s understanding of the new faith. In the process, Quakers fashioned themselves as one of the most prolific and effective religious organizations of the seventeenth century, not only for the quantity, but for the range of subjects being addressed in their works. The period covered by this chapter, 1650–1700, saw Quakerism emerge and Quakers defend, and establish their faith despite local and national crises. Quakers wrote of their religion in modes that mirrored these developments, especially when deploying genres that encapsulated their experiences as preachers, prophets, prisoners, and when speaking of the day-to-day existence of the faithful. Hence, this chapter explores how their output grew with the movement.

Keywords: Quakerism, pamphleteering, polemic, autobiography, persecution, toleration, prophecy, journals

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