Madeleine Ward

Thesis title:

The Intellectual Context for the Development of Quaker Theology, 1656-1700


Dr Sarah Apetrei and Dr George Southcombe


In existing scholarship, the early Quakers’ desire for social respectability is well-documented, but their aspirations to theological respectability have been comparatively neglected. This has fostered a view of early Quakers – and more broadly, seventeenth century radicals – as isolated and anti-intellectual. In contrast, my research examines how the theological development of early Quakerism was affected by contemporaneous intellectual discussions, thus hoping further to elucidate the role of positive theological engagement in the development of early Quakerism. I look in particular detail at Quaker Christology, Quakers’ conversations with so-called ‘Cambridge Platonists’, and the relationship of Quakerism to Spinozism and Deism.


Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities

Selected Publications

‘Transformative Faith and the Theological Response of the Quakers to the Boston Executions’, in Quaker Studies (forthcoming)

Conference Papers:

‘The Theology of the Quaker Movement in the Later Seventeenth Century’, Ecclesiastical History Research Seminar, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford (23/10/14)

‘Perfection, Politics and Otherness in the Quaker Circle of James Nayler’, IMEMS and MEMSA Conference: On the Fringes: Outsiders and Otherness, Durham University (10/7/2014) 

‘Adversity as Opportunity in the Experience of the Early Quakers’, Theology and Religion Postgraduate Conference: Adversity through the Ages, Durham University (14/3/2014)

Other research interests:

The Reformation, early modern religion, sacramental theology, theological imagination.