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Book Reviews Quakerism and Early Christianity. Swarthmore Lecture, 1957. By Henry J. Cadbury. London: George Allen and Unwin. 1957. 48 pages. $1.25. The latest Swarthmore Lecture, Quakerism and Early Christianity, by Henry J. Cadbury, will appeal not only to readers of this Bulletin, but to a much wider group of Friends and non-Friends as well. In it Henry Cadbury suggests from the point of view of a trained historian some of the differences and similarities between these two early movements and some of the implications for problems we face today. Throughout he stresses the variety within the two movements, both initially and in their later developments, and the ambiguities and paradoxes which this variety inevitably created. I was especially interested in his treatment of the concept of membership in these two groups. He cites the example of the Roman centurion Cornelius and the question as to whether he had to become a Jew before he could become a Christian. Henry Cadbury then asks: "Is it necessary today for a Buddhist or a Jew to become a Christian if he is to be a Quaker?" and adds: "The fact that we answer these questions in opposite ways may give us pause." In this same section occurs one of those typical and wholly delightful "Henry Cadburyisms," where he speaks of Peter and Paul as co-founders of the "Wider Judeo-Christian Fellowship." One topic which Henry Cadbury does not deal with is the economic background of early Christianity and Quakerism. I realize of course that within the brief confines of a lecture no one can be expected to touch on all phases of a subject, but I would have welcomed his comments on the subtle interplay which so often exists between how a man earns his living and what he believes, and which was almost certainly present in varying degrees in the origins of both Christianity and Quakerism. To me the most impressive feature of this lecture is the plea it makes throughout for toleration and even welcoming of variety and difference. In a season when the temptation for many is to move toward conformity and orthodoxy in both politics and religion, it is exceedingly good to have Henry Cadbury reminding us, sometimes with great charm and wit, and always with clarity, that variety is not only the spice but the essence of life. Swarthmore, Pennsylvania Henry G. Russell 119 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
p. 119
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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