News

Dr. Rediehs presents conference paper

Dr. Laura Rediehs presented a paper at a conference this summer:  “Mysteries of Candlelight” at the Friends Association for Higher Education Conference, at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, June 16-19, 2011.  

Abstract:  “The Light Upon the Candlestick” (1663) was written by a Dutch Collegiant, but was embraced by the Quakers as a good account of Quaker epistemology, according to Rufus Jones and Richard Popkin.  Yet a contemporary scholar of Dutch Collegiant thought, Andrew Fix, interprets this same essay as showing the Collegiants moving away from a spiritualist interpretation of the Inner Light and towards a rationalist interpretation, influenced by the philosopher Spinoza.  While the title page of the English translation of this essay indicates that the author was influenced by a Quaker, it seems that no one has examined this connection in detail.  I have now done so, and conclude that the Quaker influences are much stronger than the rationalist influences, and so “The Light Upon the Candlestick” is best interpreted as a point of convergence between Quaker and Collegiant thought, rather than as a rationalist turn in Collegiant thought.