'Inward' and 'Outward' Jews: Margaret Fell, Circumcision, and Women's Preaching

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Abstract

This article examines the attitudes Margaret Fell demonstrates towards Jews in her first batch of pamphlets in 1656 and 1657 and compares them to her later pamphlets. It suggests that developments within the Quaker movement itself and the different religious and political climate of the latter period as well as Jews' messianic claims concerning Sabbatai Sevi were responsible for the changes between her mid-1650s work and the pamphlets published in the 1660s. Renaissance Jews remained attached, like Paul's Galatian converts, to fleshly particularity. Because they had not responded to her earlier universalist, salvational message, Fell no longer expected the Jews to convert and her attitudes towards them became considerably more brutal. Indeed, I suggest that in her later 1660s work Fell's central concern was no longer with Jewish conversion to Quakerism. Rather, still using the same metaphors of 'inward' and 'outward' Jewishness with which she had prosleytized Renaissance Jews in the 1650s, Margaret Fell in her later work questions women's marginal status within Quakerism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-167
Number of pages29
JournalReformation
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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