“Stand Still in The Light”: What Conceptual Metaphor Research Can Tell Us about Quaker Theology

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The purpose of this study is to explore how an interdisciplinary approach can benefit Quaker Studies. The paper applies conceptual Metaphor Theory to help explicate aspects of theology in 17th century Quaker writings. It uses a combination of close reading supported by a corpus of related texts to analyse the writing of 4 key figures from the first decade of the movement. Metaphor analysis finds that orientational schemas of UP-DOWN and IN-OUT are essential structural elements in the theological thought of all 4 writers, along with more complex metaphors of BUILDINGS. Quaker writers make novel extensions to and recombinations of Biblical metaphors around Light and Stones, as well as using aspects of the theory of Elements. Such analysis can help explicate nuances of theological meaning-making. The evaluation of DOWN IS GOOD and UP IS BAD—except in specific circumstances—is distinctively Quaker, and embodied metaphors of divine immanence in humans indicate a ‘flipped’ soteriology which is distanced from the Christ event.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019


  • Quaker studies
  • soteriology
  • Christology
  • conceptual metaphor
  • metaphor schemas
  • James Nayler
  • Sarah Jones
  • Margaret Fell
  • Edward Burrough
  • divine immanence


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