"Jesus saves me now": Sanctification in the writings of Hannah Whitall Smith
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SubjectSmith, Hannah Whitall, 1832-1911. -- Contributions in theology.
Smith, Hannah Whitall, 1832-1911. -- Written works.
Sanctification -- History of doctrines.
Theses Ph. D.--New Testament.
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This dissertation examines the unique perspective on sanctification of Hannah Whitall Smith. Quakers of the nineteenth century, Hannah and her husband became internationally famous in the Higher Life Movement. The intent of her writings, she said, was to "bring out, as far as possible, the common-sense teaching of the Bible in regard to everyday religion," and the secret that she had found in the Bible was that the Christian could depend on God for sanctification by faith in the same way God could be believed for salvation by faith. Chapter 1 gives a brief overview and defines the parameters of the study. Chapter 2 tells the story of Hannah's life and discusses the background of her theological pre-understandings. An overview of her theology is included with the study of her familial and social contexts. Other influences on her ideas are examined. Chapter 3 analyzes Hannah's perspective of the Bible and her methods for its interpretation. It begins with a study of the interpretive methods of George Fox, and concludes with an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hannah's own hermeneutical principles. Chapter 4 researches the background of the biblical idea of sanctification and its interpretation throughout church history. It locates Hannah's convictions along a spectrum of historical views, comparing and contrasting her ideas with both the ancients and with her own contemporaries. It concludes with a discussion of the lasting effects of the Keswick Movement, which institutionalized her views. Chapter 5 presents a clear exposition of Hannah's view of sanctification as manifested in certain themes which run through her writings. Each of these topics includes her scriptural rationale. Chapter 6 is a deeper discussion of the scriptural foundation for her views, including exegesis of specific passages which she uses, and critiquing her use of them. From these Scriptures she deduced that freedom from sin in this life is a real possibility. Chapter 7, the conclusion of the paper summarizes the study of Hannah's views and proposes the rationale for the continued popularity of her writings.