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May 18, 2010


Roger D-W

Thanks for this blessing on the day.


Thank you, Roger. I am continuously impressed at how early Friends infused their beliefs into all of their lives. I have been considering a leading to try to turn this essay on Friends' practices regarding debt into a Pendle Hill pamphlet or Friends Journal article, and to develop a program and queries for adult religious education. Do Friends/friends think this would be useful?

Steven Davison

Thank you for this posting, John. I also feel that we Friends need to pay more attention, not just to debt but to economics in general. Many yearly meetings do not mention economics at all in their sections on the testimonies in their books of discipline.

This is especially true for Christ-centered Friends, I feel, since debt relief was at the very center of Jesus' gospel message. He proclaimed a Jubilee with the very first words of his public ministry in the gospel of Luke (Luke 4:16-30) and used debt as the central metaphor for sin in the Lord's prayer (forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors). All the Beatitudes are about bankruptcy via inheritance law. 'Redemption' itself is an economic term, reflecting the tradition of his people as having been ransomed by their God from debt slavery in the Exodus, the foundational event that created Israel as his people. Debt and debt redemption could not be more important to the original gospel of Jesus, though, of course, the Christian tradition has pretty much abandoned Jesus on this point. We have Paul to thank for that, I think.

Anyway, while researching my own book on Quakers and Capitalism, I've found some resources you might be interested in, listed below. Also, check out Google Books for finding books like these in local libraries. There's a link on the right side of the Google Books page for doing library searches by zip code. It's not completely reliable—it gives six results for Quakers and Industry before 1800 within 60 miles of my zip code, but doesn't list the library where I got the book, the Princeton Theological Seminary. Seminary libraries may not be on their radar, so you might check to see if there's a seminary near you with a decent Quaker section.

Here are those other books:

Meeting House and Counting House: The Quaker Merchants in Colonial Philadelphia: 11682–1783. Frederick B. Tolles; Chapel Hill, NC; 1948.

The Philadelphia Quakers in the Industrial Age: 1865¬–1920. Philip S. Benjamin; Temple University Press, Phil.; 1976.

Quakerism and Industry Before 1800. Isabel Grubb, M.A.; Williams & Norgate, Ltd., London; 1930.

Quakers In Science and Industry; being an account of the Quaker contribution to science and industry during the 17th and 18th centuries. Arthur Raistrick; The Bannisdale Press, London; 1950.

Quakers in Commerce: A Record of Business Achievement. Paul H. Emden; Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., London; 1939.

The Quakers: Money & Morals. James Walvin; John Murray, London; 1997.

The Covenant Crucified: Quakers and the Rise of Capitalism. Douglas Qwyn; Pendle Hill Publications, Wallingford, PA; 1995.

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Max Weber; Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY; 1905.

bible audio

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Thank you, Steven and Bible Audio, for your comments. Steven, thanks especially for your additional Biblical insight -- so true. Great bibliography, too. Some of the books are familiar -- Tolles, Grubb, Raistrick, and Walvin. "Covenant Crucified" has been on my to-read list for some time -- this may nudge me to actually do it. I discovered some postings from your book -- look forward to reading more and, perhaps, getting together sometime. We're both in the NY metro area.

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