The Theosophical Transactions of the Philadelphians (No. 3)

The third volume of the Philadelphian’s Theosophical  The movement faces its first criticisms  Transactions reveals that the enthusiasm present in the first and second volumes was on the decline. It starts with a condemnation of an attack on the Philadelphian Society, published as The principles of a people stiling themselves Philadelphians (1697). The book was written by the exiled French Huguenot Daniel Lafite, who had been ordained as an Anglican deacon and priest in 1687.…

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Who wrote ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’?

The Book of Margery Kempe is undoubtedly one of the most important surviving pieces of medieval English literature. It allows us insight into a multitude of different issues: gender roles, marital relations, female authority, Lollardy, pilgrimage, fasting, the hazards of travel and contested visionary experience, to name just a few. Yet until the twentieth century very little was known about it at all. Small extracts from the Book were printed in 1501 and 1521, but…

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Book Review: Elizabeth Bouldin, Women Prophets and Radical Protestantism in the British Atlantic World, 1640–1730

Elizabeth Bouldin has written a lively, accessible and clear account of an often overlooked aspect of seventeenth-century religious history. Scholars interested in female visionary experience in England are often drawn to medieval figures such as Christina of Markyate, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, the Reformation visionary Elizabeth Barton, or modern figures such as Joanna Southcott. The major strength of Bouldin’s monograph is the way it illuminates the messages of lesser-known visionary women: Baptists such…

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The Theosophical Transactions of the Philadelphians (No. 2)

The second of the Philadelphian’s Theosophical Transactions was published in April 1697. The front cover contained a quote from Revelation, ‘Behold, I have set before thee an Open Door: and no Man can shut it’ (Rev 3:8). This second memoir contained letters from actual members of the Philadelphians concerning subjects brought up in the previous months publication. Despite this, it was substantially smaller than the first, suggesting that Lee and Roach had expended most of…

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PhD: Surviving the Viva and Some Reflections

An academic once warned me that doing a PhD was a ‘dark night of the soul’. I laughed at the time at what seemed like a bit of a melodramatic statement, but they were absolutely right. After seven years of continuous study (BA, MRes and PhD), I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved to finally finish. In the three years I’ve studied for my PhD I’ve grappled with anxiety, depression and exhaustion-…

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