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Naked Quakers

Apocalyptic obsessions and public nudity - the world of the early Quakers

FT271


…a man, a Quaker, came naked through the [Westminster] Hall, only very civilly tied about the privates to avoid scandal, and with a chafing-dish of fire and brimstone burning upon his head… crying, “Repent! repent! (Samuel Pepys, Diary, 29 July 1667).


For those who don’t think that they are a breakfast cereal, or confuse them with the Amish, Quakers today are generally thought of as a harmless, if rather worthy, Christian denomination. Indeed, in Britain at least, the Religious Society of Friends, as Quakers are formally called, now appear reticent about appearing religious at all, feeling more comfortable to claim that they “share a way of life, not a set of beliefs”[1] and happy to include atheists and humanists amongst their members.

 

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A Quaker's Dream

Naked goings-on on the title page of an anonymous anti-Quaker pamphlet of 1655 entitled 'The Quakers Dream'

 

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