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"In the world but not of it": Quaker faith and the dominant culture, Middletown Meeting, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1750-1850. (Text)

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  • This study of seventeen surname Quaker families from Middletown Monthly Meeting in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, attempts to describe and analyze the choices they made between the requirements of their faith and the demands and opportunities of the dominant culture. This necessitated first the reconstruction of all seventeen of the Meeting s families that stayed in the Meeting from 1750 to 1850. The concept of levels of faith development has been used to help understand behavior in specific circumstances as well as the dynamics of larger movements. Among individuals of the Data Set families it was found, as expected, that there were varying degrees of commitment to the God-centered life from which certain behaviors were expected to flow. They seemed to come closer to approximating the ideal of being "in the world but not of it"--participating in the larger society without adopting its standards or values--at times of sharp crisis than during times of prosperity when it was easy to slide into acceptance of aspects of the dominant culture. It was also found that the family was important, that patterns of active involvement in ongoing business of the Meeting, of active working on the interior, spiritual life, of outward upholding of testimonies tended to run in families. Negative patterns like drinking, fornication, and inactivity in meetings for business were also clustered in some families but not in others. It was found that the "alienation" model used by some scholars to predict which Friends would join the Hicksite branch and which the Orthodox branch at the Separation in 1827, did not explain the experience of Middletown Friends. A significant proportion of Hicksite Friends in Middletown were increasingly involved in the economic aspects of the acquisitive society while eschewing the reform programs and theology of the Orthodox
  • 2006-08-11
  • English
  • ksl:etd-1058985472
Identifier ksl:etd-1058985472
Access Rights Open Access
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