I just finished reading Martin’s post about him finally finishing John Woolman’s Journal and it got me thinking about how I enjoyed Woolman’s journal so much. Then I started thinking more about books (not something that’s all that hard to do, really.) This reminded me to take A Description of The Qualifications Necessary to A Gospel Minister??? by Samuel Bownas (the title of the book is pretty self-explanatory) with me on my trip to the Mid-West for vacation (this Saturday).
I got this book and a couple others from our friends Robin and Chris who picked them up for me while at PYM. I have this great voicemail from Robin calling me from yearly meeting reading a list of books off over the phone wondering whether I was interested in any. Of course I want them I thought and so I called her back and said, Robin if you see a book or 5, there you think I need buy them for me and I will write you a check when you get to our house.??? And so they brought me a couple gems for my library. I really appreciated this because I’d never heard of the books her and Chris picked out and so this gives me more opportunity to stretch my overall knowledge and experience of Friends’ theology.
This essentially is the reason for this post – I want to know from you what books you think are really important to your faith and practice as a Friend. Not only will this have the potential to be a fun exercise but it will also aid me in my research as I am (actually right this moment) working on a bibliography for my research program.
You don’t have to follow my rubric but here’s a simple pattern and if you feel like if you can write why you like it, in fact that may be helpful for me.
A List of Quaker Books (or books by non-Quakers about them)
1. Spiritual Reflection – Woolman, John. 1971. The journal and major essays of John Woolman, Library of Protestant thought. New York: Oxford University Press.
This is a true classic on spiritual devotion and how the silent life leads toward social action, John Woolman’s work among the Native and African Americans still stands as a model for Christians today.
2. Historical Book – Barbour, Hugh, and J. William Frost. 1988. The Quakers, Denominations in America ; no. 3. New York: Greenwood Press.
I really liked this book not only because it is packed full of history (I spans a huge amount of time) but it is written with little bias (or at least as much as that is possible). I found this book particularly useful in my writing project for my masters because it was so solid.
3. Theological Book – Barclay, Robert. 1789. An apology for the true Christian divinity : being an explanation and vindication of the principles and doctrines of the people called Quakers. Philadelphia: Printed by Joseph James in Chesnut Street.
Reading Robert Barclay was a spiritual experience for me. I kept having ah-ha’s??? and found myself more and more in love with Quaker theology as understood by one of our finest thinkers. One sentiment I experienced over and over was, I’ve believed this my whole life but never knew how to put it!???
4. Other Random Book – Cooper, Wilmer A. 2001. A living faith : an historical and comparative study of Quaker beliefs. 2nd ed. ed. Richmond, Ind.: Friends United Press.
When I read this book I wished I had this as a textbook in undergrad and decided that if/when I teach Quaker theology Wilmer Cooper’s comparative study??? will be a must. It’s got all the basics, it’s accessible for introductions to Quakerism, and he covers the different branches pretty fairly (or so I think).
I will be adding this list to my wiki as well: