Scottish Quaker Apologist
Robert Barclay (23 December 1648 – 3 October 1690) was a Scottish Quaker, one of the most eminent writers belonging to the Religious Society of Friends and a member of the Clan Barclay. He was also governor of the East Jersey colony in North America through most of the 1680s, although he himself never resided in the colony.
Robert Barclay was one of the most eminent writers belonging to the Religious Society of Friends and a member of the Clan Barclay. In 1667 he joined the recently formed Society of Friends after returning to Scotland. Soon afterwards he began to write in defense of his sect, by publishing in 1670 Truth cleared of Calumnies, and a Catechism and Confession of Faith (1673). In 1670 he had married a Quaker lady, Christian Mollison of Aberdeen.
He was an ardent theological student, a man of warm feelings and considerable mental powers, and he soon came prominently forward as the leading apologist of the new doctrine, winning his spurs in a controversy with one William Mitchell. The publication of fifteen Theses Theologiae (1676) led to a public discussion in Aberdeen, each side claiming a victory. The most prominent of the Theses was that bearing on immediate revelation, in which the superiority of this inner light to reason or scripture is sharply stated. He was noted as a strong supporter of George Fox in the controversies that tore into Quakers in the 1670s.
His greatest work, An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, was published in Latin at Amsterdam in 1676, and was an elaborate statement of the grounds for holding certain fundamental positions laid down in the Theses. It was translated by its author into English in 1678, and is claimed to be "one of the most impressive theological writings of the century."
Works by Robert Barclay
This book contains two works--the Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity. Both were written by Robert Barclay, an important 17th century Quaker. Barclay was an ardent Quaker and friend of other notable Quakers such as William Penn and George Fox. In 1675, Barclay wrote These Theologicae as a concise statement of the Quaker faith. Three years later, he published An Apology for the True Christian Divinity. It was meant as a defense of the Quaker faith, as expounded in the Theses Theologicae. Together they provide a bold rationale for Quaker doctrine. Barclay's works are interesting beyond being theological treatises--they also provide an intriguing window into the history of Christian thought. Barclay's prose is fairly modernized, making this book ideal for slow, intensive study. These works are verifiable classics, being reprinted over 60 times in the last 300 years. Much can be learned from Barclay and his writings.
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