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The Quakers’ A Very Short Introduction by Pink Dandelion

2237189This wonderful, brief overview of Quaker faith and history by Pink Dandelion, commences with the beginnings of Quakerism during the Interregnum in Britain and George Fox’s early epiphanies and moves to establish a “church”, to the 21st century. Following the practices, trials and tribulations of early and persecuted Quakers, Dandelion takes the reader through the intervening years and the splintering of one faith into, basically three and more branches, and the various styles and belief systems that dominated and thus established differences within the faith. While silence as a means of a direct encounter with God dominates most variations of Quakerism, a handy table towards the back of the book reveals major points of difference and equivalence in terms of worship and leadership among other things.

Mostly ignorant about this gentle but socially-conscience faith (Quakers are renown for their political actions against slavery, practical help for victims of war, those who suffer as a result of government policies, and natural disasters as well as for business acumen and honesty – in the past and present), I found this introduction (being read in conjunction with a biography of George Fox) not only managed to quash the many stereotypes and incorrect assumptions about Quakers and their faith I possessed (for example, I didn’t know about the many intra-faith divisions and co-operation but also acceptance of other faiths and even incorporation of some aspects of Christianity into doctrine and practice that has occurred over the centuries), but provided a fascinating insight into an often misunderstood religion as well.

 

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