The Willson Lectures

The Public is Welcome

April 5-6, 2010

Thomas D. Hamm, Archivist and Professor of History Earlham College

The Road to ESR: Or, the Long, Tangled, and Often Confusing Story of How Friends Came to Embrace Theological Education

One of the foundations of the early Quaker movement was George Fox’s insight that being bred up at Oxford or Cambridge did not qualify one to be a minister of Jesus Christ. Yet Friends also valued education, and were careful students of the Bible who often carried theological debates on a sophisticated level.

In these lectures, Tom Hamm will examine how Quietism and fear of hireling ministry led Friends to regard higher education generally and theological education in particular with suspicion for two hundred years. Then, over the course of the nineteenth century, even as Friends divided,social and intellectual change led nearly all to see the advantages of colleges, and a majority to accept the idea of pastoral ministry. And even Friends who rejected a paid ministry, in many cases, still saw theological training as appropriate. But what forms would that take? Colleges, Bible colleges, education in seminaries of other denominations? Another century would pass before a wide variety of Friends would find the answer to that question in the Earlham School of Religion.

This year’s lecturer:

THOMAS D. HAMM is a native of New Castle, Indiana.  He received his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 1985. After teaching two years at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, he joined the Earlham faculty, where he is archivist and professor of history. He is the author of numerous works on Quaker history. His most recent book, The Quakers in America, was published by Columbia University Press in 2003. He is editor for Quaker Writings, 1650-1920, which will be published by Penguin Classics in 2011. He is a lifelong Friend, and served for several years as recording clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting.

Schedule of Events

Monday, April 5, 2010

7:30 p.m.

ESR Center 
Lecture I: The Quaker Controversy with the Universities, 1650-1800

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

10: 00 a.m.

ESR Center
Lecture II: The Century of Discernment, 1800-1900

11:20 a.m.

Common Meal - ESR Dining Room
[Persons wishing to attend Common Meal should contact Mandy Ford at ESR for reservations/payment information.]

12:00 p.m.

ESR Center
Lecture III: The Hard Choices of Friends, 1900-1960

Event Date:04/05/2010 - 7:30pm - 04/06/2010 - 1:00pm