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An historical study of the discipline of the Society of Friends, 1738 - 1861

Hall, D. J. (1972) An historical study of the discipline of the Society of Friends, 1738 - 1861. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study is concerned with the rules for the conduct of Quaker life and the framework of organisation within which those rules operated, known generally as the discipline, in the period from-1758 to 1861. It begins with the first codification of the rules in 1758 and ends with the publication of the fourth edition of the book of discipline, embodying the results of major reforms, in 1861.The discipline and the organisation of the Society in 1758 are first described in detail and the study then proceeds to describe the development of the discipline up to 1861, explaining where possible the influences responsible for that development. The obvious focal points between 1758 and 1861 are the years of publication of the printed books of discipline in 1785, 1802, 1854 and. 1861 following the pattern of the manuscript Christian and Brotherly Advices issued in 1738.The other chief events in the Society's history concerning the development of the discipline were the-movement for the so-called revival of the discipline in the 1760s and an essentially theological controversy known as the Beacon in the 1850s, when the discipline was ineffectively applied and produced a schism on a small scale. The movement for the revival of the discipline was the major symptom of the discontent with the state of the Society felt by influential Friends throughout the period. This discontent reached crisis point at the end of the period when Friends realised the seriousness of their dwindling numbers. This study attempts to evaluate the responsibility of the discipline for this situation and deals finally with the major reforms in the discipline that were incorporated in the book of discipline in 1861.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1972
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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