The Presence in the MidstQuakerInfo.com
Google
 
Web quakerinfo.com
Your online source for information about the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Home
Articles
Friends Christian Renewal
Feedback
Finding Quakers
Quaker Books & Video
Quaker Art Prints
What's New
Publishing at QuakerInfo.com
Latest Newsletter
About Us
Bio
Calendar of Yearly Meetings
Privacy Policy
Facebook logo QuakerInfo.com
on Facebook

PicoSearch


Search Bill Samuel's
Web Sites




Except for a few reprinted old documents, articles on this site are copyrighted by the author, and may not be reprinted without permission. You are, however, free to link to any article or page on this site without prior permission although it's nice to know who's linking to us.

Bill Samuel, August 4, 2002
Bill Samuel
Webservant
QuakerInfo.com

Imagination & Spirit
A Contemporary Quaker Reader
A QuakerInfo.com review by Bill Samuel

Cover of Imagination & Spirit Imagination & Spirit: A Contemporary Quaker Reader, Edited and Introduced by J. Brent Bill, Friends United Press, 2002, 257 pages, paperback, list price $19 U.S. Click cover image or book title to order.

J. Brent Bill is director of the Earlham School of Religion Annual Writing Colloquium, and is both an experienced writer and a teacher of writing. He has long been active in the Society of Friends (Quakers), of which he is a recorded minister and former pastor. If anyone should be able to do a good job of producing a contemporary Quaker reader, certainly Brent Bill should be. And this effort does not disappoint.

The book provides excerpts of writings by 15 Quaker authors. The earliest selection was first published in 1940, and the latest in 2001. The writers have all published in the popular market. This is a selection of Quaker writers who have all proven quite popular far beyond the Quaker community. The ability to produce such a distinguished collection demonstrates that in the field of literature, as in other areas of life, Quakers have had influence far beyond our small number. And Bill has not attempted to present all contemporary Quaker authors who have been widely read outside of the Society of Friends.

In the early days of Quakerism, almost all published works by Friends would have been defenses of the Quaker understanding of Christianity and accounts of how the life of faith was lived out by Friends. Fiction was looked upon with great suspicion.

Today, the range of writing by Quaker authors is much broader. It still includes outstanding religious literature. This volume includes excerpts from two of the most important Christian devotional and spiritual development books of the 20th century - Thomas Kelly's A Testament of Devotion and Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. Also included are excerpts from noted religious writers D. Elton Trueblood and Douglas Steere, as well as reflections on spiritual living by less well known writers. But these are only part of the tapestry of contemporary Quaker writing in this volume.

The range of writing includes historical fiction, children's literature, humor and even a mystery. Some of the better known writers represented are Jessamyn West, Daisy Newman and James Michener. The volume demonstrates much of the breadth of Quaker writing today.

Regardless of genre, each piece in the volume sheds light on Quaker faith understandings and how they are lived out. The volume seems to demonstrate that active Quakers who are writers are generally drawn to reflect their faith in their writings. The views expressed may represent more variety in faith understanding than among early Friends, but they all express the deeply felt sense of Quakers that our faith has profound impact on the way we live our lives day by day.

Each piece in this volume is first rate. The quality and the content of the writing will surely draw many readers to seek out more of the writings of some of the authors included. As well as providing an indication of the depth and breadth of contemporary Quaker writing, the volume serves as a sampler helping readers select writers to explore in more depth.

Bill includes very helpful introductions to each of the writers, and very brief introductions to each selection. He also includes an Introduction to the book which is a quick overview of the history of Friends, with particular attention to Quaker writing. This will help particularly non-Friends to put the contemporary writings in a broader context.

I heartily recommend Imagination & Spirit. You will not regret the time spent reading this volume.
Enter email address
to join newsletter
mailing list


Big Selection
of Quaker Books

Quaker and general books,
videos and other products.




Recommended Books: see all items
A Living Faith: An Historical and Comparative Study of Quaker Beliefs
Cover imageWilmer Cooper, founding Dean of Earlham School of Religion, provides an historical look at the beliefs of Friends (Quakers). Includes study questions.
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
Cover imageRichard J. Foster. Describes 21 types of Christian prayer. Harper San Francisco, 1992. 288 pages.
Journal of George Fox
Cover imageThe auto- biography of the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Celebration of Discipline
Cover image20th Anniversary Edition of Richard J. Foster's million- selling work on Christian spiritual disciplines.
Imagination & Spirit: A Contemporary Quaker Reader
Cover imageA selection of excerpts from 15 contemporary Quaker authors who reached the mainstream market. See review.

Recommended Art Print: see all prints


The Peaceable Kingdom
by Edward Hicks
29 in. x 23 in.

List of Articles . About Us . QuakerInfo.com Home . Quaker Books . Quaker Art Prints

QuakerInfo.com Newsletter

We publish an infrequent email newsletter that gives updates on the site plus news of Quakers. Your email address will be held in strict confidence. Subscribe by putting your email address in the box below and clicking on Subscribe. You will need to respond to a confirmation email. If you control spam by having an approved list of addresses from which you receive email, be sure to put webservant@quakerinfo.com on your approved list. NOTE: If you get a “subscription submittal failure” in response to a subscription attempt, the usual reason is that you are already subscribed.

Document last modified on Sunday, 13-Jul-2003 20:19:43 EDT