A definitive study of one of the earliest leaders of the Quaker movement. Along with George Fox and the "valiant sixty," Nayler's itinerant ministry helped gather seekers for spiritual satisfaction and religious order after the mid-17th century civil wars in England. Early Quakers were bold and prophetic in the biblical tradition. "James Nayler: Revolutionary to Prophet" presents for the first time, a full account of Nayler's life. "Compared with recent books on Nayler, this is more accessible to the general reader than Damrosch's, more scholarly than Massey, and more comprehensive than Bittle."--Rosemary Moore.
In this definitive study of one of the earliest leaders of the Quaker movement in 17th Century England, James Nayler is shown at one of the great turning points in western history. He was a revolutionary complete in all respects, a military officer working for the overthrow of the monarchy, a political idealist seeking the establishment of a republic respectful of freedom of conscience, and a religious mystic in the tradition of the Biblical Prophets. Nayler is remembered for his ride into Bristol accompanied by idolaters singing hosanna, as if he were Jesus entering Jerusalem, but his writings show a different and far more humble character. Though he was tortured, imprisoned for blasphemy, and cast out in disgrace by many Quakers, his books and papers written from Bridewell Prison explain a deep and faithful spiritual discovery, lost for generations in the suppression of his works. The author unwraps this obscurity to present the first complete story of James Nayler's life ever written