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Preaching the Inward Light
Early Quaker Rhetoric

By Michael P. Graves

Preaching the Inward Light
Hardback, 450 pages $49.95
Published: 15th November 2009
ISBN: 9781602582408
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All History, All Practical Theology, All Rhetoric Studies, Church History, Rhetoric & Religion

Studying the history of early Quaker preaching, Michael Graves uses careful rhetorical analysis to provide insights into Quaker theology and practice. Situating the movement within the intellectual context of early seventeenth century Europe, he explores both seminal preachers and lesser known figures who were nonetheless important rhetoricians. Through extant sermons he demonstrates that the early Quakers could be a vocal, even “revivalistic,” sect that sought to put into effect world-wide the moral, spiritual, and practical virtues of what they called “primitive Christianity.” Thus, Graves challenges the stereotypes of the early movement and shows the denomination to be theologically innovative and socially important. Well-researched and well-written, Preaching the Inward Light is a timely look backward to these spirited people.



Ch. 1   Cultural Constraints on Early Quaker Preaching

Ch. 2   Presuppositions of Early Quaker Preaching

Ch. 3   The Development of Seventeenth Century Quaker Impromptu Preaching Theory

Ch. 4   Robert Barclay and the Grounding of Early Quaker Homiletic Theory

Ch. 5   The Flowering of Early Quaker Homiletic Theory: Samuel Bownas' Manual for Itinerant Impromptu Preachers

Ch. 6   Thematic Characteristics of Quaker Sermons, 1671-1700

Ch. 7   Key Metaphors in Early Quaker Sermons, 1671-1700

Ch. 8   Other Salient Characteristics of Quaker Sermons, 1671-1700

Ch. 9   George Fox Faces the Yearly Meeting in 1674: The Challenge of Legitimacy in a Culture that Values Impromptu, Inspired Discourse

Ch. 10 Stephen Crisp and the Bedrock of Early Quakerism

Ch. 11 “This is my testimony unto you from the life of God”: The Theorist Tests His Own Advice

Ch. 12 William Penn Preaches an Impromptu Funeral Sermon




"More than religious history, Michael P. Graves has penned a multifaceted historical, theoretical, and textual analysis of impromptu speech that will be of great interest to communication and rhetorical scholars. ... Through his careful scholarship and elegant prose, we catch a glimpse of the path these Friends followed, the meaning they built, the communities they formed, and the Light that illuminated their way."

—Jonathan J. Edwards, Rhetoric & Public Affairs (2011, 14:1)

"Preaching the Inward Light is an excellent resource not only for students of religious rhetoric, preaching, and history, but also for persons who would encounter a radically different approach to discerning God’s living word amid the community of faith."

Homiletic (2010, 35:40)

"Writing in a clear, accessible style, Mike Graves breaks new ground in this discussion of late seventeenth-century Quaker impromptu preaching. Situating his analysis of particular sermons within the context of Quaker rhetorical and homiletical theory of the time, Graves adds a significant new chapter to both rhetorical and homiletical theory. Furthermore, Graves discerns features in early Quaker preaching that have striking pertinence for preaching today—for example, the way key metaphors lend these sermons both rhetorical and theological coherence. With today’s global  resurgence of  spontaneous, pneumatologically-driven modes of  preaching, prompting both scholars and students of preaching to ask new questions, this book could hardly be more timely. Graves’ look backward may provide just the sort of exploratory map we need to move forward."

—Sally A. Brown, Elizabeth M. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship, Princeton Theological Seminary

"A lively analysis of Quaker homiletics. Both historians and students of rhetoric and preaching will find here many helpful insights."

—John S. McClure, Charles G. Finney Professor of Homiletics, The Divinity School, Vanderbilt University

Michael P. Graves(Ph.D. University of Southern California) is Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication, Liberty University.  He co-edited More Than Precious Memories: The Rhetoric of Southern Gospel Music (2004).  He lives in Forest, Virginia.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 450 pages
 9in x 6in

  LAN015000, REL067000, REL088000
 Baylor University Press

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