“We Leave Every Reader to Draw His Own Inferences” Or Language and the Construction of Community in the Quaker journal The Friend

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“We Leave Every Reader to Draw His Own Inferences” Or Language and the Construction of Community in the Quaker journal The Friend

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Title: “We Leave Every Reader to Draw His Own Inferences” Or Language and the Construction of Community in the Quaker journal The Friend
Author: Cooper, Benjamin
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Religion
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 141928 bytes112375 bytes
Issue Date: 2005
Abstract: On the morning of August thirtieth, 1827, a group of Hicksite Quakers from Green Street Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia approached the Western District Burial Ground, a site the meeting had purchased with four others. Green Street, however, had been recently dissolved by the Orthodox-controlled Quarterly Meeting. The Orthodox, who no longer officially recognized the meeting, had installed a locked gate at the burial ground in order to keep the Hicksites out. “Scenes were enacted,” writes Bliss Forbush, “that were disgraceful to the name of Friend:” “Green Street members came with a ladder and axe to climb the wall and break the locks which Orthodox Friends placed on the gate. ‘Idle disposed persons came to watch.’ Green Street Friends then prepared to erect a new gate in the wall, and while in the midst of these operations one of the Orthodox committee approached and was told ‘in the perfect manner of Friends … thee had better go away; thee will get dust on thee.’ A warrant was issued against the Liberal Friends by the mayor on request of the Orthodox…several Liberals spent three weeks in jail.” By 1827 Quakerism was so far removed from the previous century, in which there was a strong sense of unity, purpose and theological clarity, that on that summer morning the Orthodox did not even acknowledge Hicksites as Quaker. In order to bury a dead child, the Hicksites felt justified in breaking down a gate that was not theirs, and the Orthodox, rather than discuss the situation with those they had so recently considered their brethren, called the police as if they were unknown criminals. A study of the language used in the Orthodox journal The Friend will open the door to an understanding of this shift in community boundaries. The Orthodox divided everything into two categories, the worldly and the religious. The journal placed Hicksites—after they became labeled as such—with the worldly, and declared itself and the Orthodoxy it represented to be religious. It did this by employing the same vocabulary it used to describe worldly and religious literature. This paper will first provide the necessary historical background of the Quaker schism, and then examine the language of The Friend, starting with its conception of rationality and verdicts on literature, and then tracing the mirroring of that worldview onto the players and groups of the schism.
Subject: Quakers -- Language
Subject: Friend, or, Advocate of truth
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/769

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Cooper, Benjamin. "“We Leave Every Reader to Draw His Own Inferences” Or Language and the Construction of Community in the Quaker journal The Friend". 2005. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/769.

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