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Making use of a wide range of primary material, this study challenges traditional interpretations of early Quakerism as a religion of universal or mystical "Inner Light", and establishes it instead as an enthusiastic movement with profoundly Christocentric beliefs and keen eschatological expectations. Part two of the text relates this to the issue of women's ministry, showing in detail how the Quakers' understanding of Christ and their Christocentric interpretation of Scripture enabled them to challenge traditional views of women, and how by the close of the 17th century the eschatological vision governing these beliefs had dwindled, and with it - to a degree - the radical stance on women's ministry. These conclusions are supported by a number of quotations from early Quaker writings.