For all those of you who get a copy of The Friend, the only weekly Quaker publication in the world, you will see my review of the Ben Pink Dandelion’s 2005 book Liturgies of Quakerism in this week’s edition. It’s pretty neat to finally get something in The Friend and I hope there will be more opportunities in the future to write for them. The Friend is based out of London (The Friend’s House) and so draws a different crowd than some of our American publications which is another great thing about it.
The basic gist of the review is, yes I like the book, and see it as Dandelion’s major work in recent years. He does have a more recent book, an Introduction to Quakerism, which is very helpful for gaining an overall picture of the Friends (and will stand as a regular textbook in any class I teach), but Liturgies represents some of his most current thinking on some of the issues that Friends face. It is an extended argument for the purpose of challenging our understanding of silence, what it’s theologically rooted in and how it is and isn’t being practiced in today’s meetings. It’s part history, part sociology, and part theology and is the most comprehensive and challenging representation I can find on the metatemporal reading of Quaker history and theology, something I have discussed previously. It’s far from a light read, and it’s published by Ashgate which means it’s really expensive over here, but if you’re interested in seriously digging into contemporary Quaker thought this is a perfect book for the task.