Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Madeleine Ward on Quakers' persecution

Without wishing to make this all about me: this is, for me, a first. I've had many outstanding MA students, and I've had a student doing a research MA (hello, Karl Jones) who published an article off the back of it, an article which I shamelessly nabbed for a book I was editing.

But Maddy Ward did a taught MA in 2013-14, and the dissertation, which I supervised, was only a third of the total course. In theory she was supposed to get it done to hand in in mid-September.

Awkwardly, she had researched and written what was clearly an outstanding dissertation by June. I didn't think that two and a half months polishing it was a good use of anyone's time. So we (by which I mean, she) set about converting it into a publishable article. She submitted it to Quaker Studies just after she left Durham for Oxford (boo, hiss) to pursue her PhD with Sarah Apetrei (hurray!); it was accepted, and it's just appeared.

And a very good piece it is too: on the distinctive theological response that early Quakers had to persecution, which drew on but was also distinct from classical Protestant martyrology, infused as it was with the Quaker emphasis on personal transformation. Her fundamental point, that we need to take Quakers' ideas seriously rather than simply seeing them as reacting to external stimuli, is a nourishing one. It's a great piece, and she's a scholar to watch.

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