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“And the Lord’s power was over all”: Calvinist anxiety, sacred confidence, and George Fox’s journal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2008
JournalELH: English Literary History
Journal number4
Volume75
Number of pages30
Pages841-870
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This essay investigates the starkly contrasting affective states of seventeenth-century spiritual subjects. Whilst the self-inscriptions of Calvinists such as John Bunyan are characterised by an unassuagable anxiety, the Journal of the founder of the Quaker movement, George Fox, charts his transition from a position of anxiety to an equally overwhelming and unshakeable spiritual, social and subjective confidence. Locating its argument in relation to the critical debates about early modern masculinity and the specificities of Quaker doctrine, it concludes that Fox’s confidence is rooted in a heteronomous subjectivity predicated on the Quaker theological cornerstone of the indwelling Christ.