In my last post I said I was going to start a summer reading project, comparing Barclay's Apology with two other theological works. Since I have accountability, I'd better do it, right? So my plan is to post at least once a week on various theological doctrines, either explaining how all three books express these doctrines in one post, or doing a couple posts that explain each book on its own. I'll give you my "syllabus" for myself, so that if you want to read along at home you're more than welcome to do so. Then I'll begin with a discussion of the introductory material/chapters of each of these works, and why I chose them.
Week 1: Introduction (this week)
Dean Freiday's forward to Barclay's Apology
Faith Seeking Understanding, Migliore, chapter 1
Freeing Theology, ed. LaCugna, chapter 1
Week 2, (week of) June 29: Revelation
Barclay Propositions 1 & 2
Freeing Theology 59-82
Week 3, July 6: The Trinity
Barclay 20-26 (he doesn't have a separate proposition on this)
Freeing Theology 83-114
Week 4, July 13: Scripture
Barclay Proposition 3
Freeing Theology 31-58
Week 5, July 20: The Fall
Barclay Proposition 4
Freeing Theology 139-160
Sexism & God-Talk, Rosemary Radford Reuther, 159-192
Week 6, July 27: Salvation & Christology
Barclay Propositions 5 & 6
Freeing Theology 115-138
Week 7, August 3: Justification & Sanctification
Barclay Propositions 7 & 8
Freeing Theology 235-259
Week 8, August 10: Predestination
Barclay Proposition 9
(If anyone can suggest a good feminist source on this I'd appreciate it!)
Week 9, August 17: The Church
Barclay Propositions 10 & 11
Freeing Theology 161-184
Week 10, August 24: The Sacraments
Barclay Propositions 12 & 13
Freeing Theology 185-210
Week 11, August 31: Ethics & Politics
Barclay Proposition 14
Freeing Theology 211-234
Disclaimer: I will be at camps two of these weeks, and one is Yearly Meeting sessions, so I might not actually get to all this within this timeline, but I'll try! We may have to bump it back, but my goal is to finish this within the official "summer."
Now for a short explanation of each of these texts and why I chose them.
I read Migliore's text and Freeing Theology for (I think) the first semester of my systematic theology course in seminary, and it's been in the back of my head since then that I should do some kind of somewhat-systematic comparison of the theologies presented with the Quaker explication. Barclay is the first (relatively) systematic Quaker theology, and arguably the only one to date. (If you know of others, let me know--I would be interested in reading them. I suspect that perhaps something from Ben Pink Dandelion would fit this category, but I haven't read much of his stuff, although I'd like to read more. Someone at some point in one of the comments on my blog suggested John Punshon's book, Reasons for Hope, but that is more a history of Friends, not a systematic theology.) I've read a good deal of Barclay's Apology, but not in the order it's written--mainly just to compare it to whatever else I'm reading on a certain doctrine. Barclay wrote his original work in Latin, published in 1676, and he translated it into English in 1678. I'm reading Dean Freiday's edition in "modern English" (1967).
For this week I just read Freiday's introductory materials on Barclay's life and the Apology itself. This was helpful to me, not only to get a feel for Barclay's personal context, but to set him in the midst of the historical-theological timeline. Freiday gives helpful and brief comments about Barclay's and Quakers' theology compared to those around him. He talks about Barclay's reaction to Calvin and Luther, Wesley's reliance on Barclay's thought on perfection, and the contemporary debates to which Barclay refers in his text as well as those who responded to his work. Freiday says that Barclay loosely used the order of doctrines presented in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (catechism created for the Anglican church in the 1640s), although he does not address all the questions therein or necessarily in that exact order. For a general overview of Barclay's thought on major doctrines, this introduction is very helpful if you don't have time to read the whole Apology or want extra insight into the broader picture of Barclay's thought.
I think I will leave my explanation of the other two texts for another post (or two), because this one is getting quite long already. So look forward to that in the next day or two.