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Apocalypse of the Word

Douglas Gwyn's Apocalypse of the Word is a stunning re-telling of early Quakerism, focusing on "The Life and Message of George Fox." Gwyn builds on Lewis Benson's earlier work (which unfortunately I haven't yet read) to present a comprehensive overview of Fox's work, exploring Fox primarily through the Journal and the Works.

I don't think I can write a review of the book - beyond to say that it's compelling, and has me reading a lot deeper into Fox. I'll be writing about and around it here for a long time to come. Its very title - Apocalypse of the Word - can be read with a eschatological perspective (Fox did, after all, have a tremendous interest in the Book of Revelation), or as Apocalypse meaning revealing, and the Word as Christ.


I had the pleasure of visiting with Doug Gwyn at length on Thursday/Friday/Saturday this past week, while passing through Richmond on my way to Harrisonburg. He was happy to tell me that Apocalypse is about to be reprinted by Friends in Britain.

Doug made some very acute observations in that book. For example (pp. 115-16): "...The Church is given an active role in establishing a new world order above the old. Even as Fox writes of a world revealed in the heart, he also insists that "this light will bring you to walk in the commands of Christ. The Church stands between the old world order and a vision of the new. The apocalyptic battle is joined at this interface between the new and the old, [immediate] experience and [past] history, spirit and flesh, heaven and earth -- between command and obedience. In other words, it stands always at the cross of Christ. ... This is where the Church must struggle until the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21) -- that is, the final resolution of all history...."

Amen! And I highly recommend the book --