|Front cover of the Transactions|
A common feature of the Transactions were long and quite dense expositions on certain phrases of Scripture. These were undertaken in the form of a conversation between Roach and Lee (under the names of Philochrysus and Philadelphus). The first volume featured discussion on the subject of Revelation 21, specifically verses 18,19 and 21. Their exposition took the form of dialogue, poetry and illustrations, all presented for the benefit of the reader. Although obscure and difficult to read, these sections provide excellent evidence for the scriptural justifications the Philadelphians used to formulate their millennialist beliefs.
The first volume also featured extracts from authors including two testimonies of St. Barnabas the Apostle, The Nature of Truth by Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke (1607-1643), and the second part of A Serious Proposal to the Ladies by Mary Astell (1666-1731). Extracts from the works of an ancient Christian writer, a deceased English Civil War Roundhead General, and a contemporary female author promoting the rights of women, serve to highlight the eclectic reading habits promoted among members. The final page of the memoir advertises other works published by the Society, including A Message to the Philadelphian Society and A Fountain of Gardens, both by their prophetess Jane Lead, which were published separately.
|The first page of the translated song|
'We having an Establish'd Correspondency in most parts of Europe, relating to the Affairs of Religion, and most specially to such Passages therein Emerging, as are less Heeded, and Known by the Generality of Christendom (so called:) and likewise to the Extraordinary Appearances of God in Nature [...] have been mov'd, in this Present Junture of Affairs, to bring forth our Light, that has been hitherto kept as it were under a Bushel; and to place it Now upon a Mountain, for the publick and universal good of all mankind, whom we esteem Our Friends and Brethren'.Further Reading:
- Apetrei, Sarah, Women, Feminism and Religion in Early Enlightenment England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Apetrei's thoughtful work places both Mary Astell and Jane Lead within a wider impulse of feminist protest in the period.
- Dixon, Tom, 'Love and Music in Augustan London; Or, The 'Enthusiasms' of Richard Roach', Eighteenth Century Music, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2007), pp. 191-209.
- Hill, Bridget, 'A Refuge from Men: The Idea of a Protestant Nunnery', Past & Present, Vol. 117, No. 1 (1987), pp. 107-130. Hill engages with Mary Astell and her wider context.
- McDowell, Paula, The Women of Grub Street: Press, Politics and Gender in the London Literary Marketplace, 1678-1730 (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1998). McDowell argues that the Philadelphians 'used Lead's name as a marketing tool' (p. 174) in the Theosophical Transactions.
- Skouen, Tina, and Stark, Ryan J., 'Introduction', in Skouen and Stark (eds.), Rhetoric and the Early Royal Society: A Sourcebook (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 1-52. Skouen and Stark suggest that the Theosophical Transactions were 'designed specifically as a counterstatement to the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions' (p. 27).
- Versluis, Arthur, 'Mysticism and Spiritual Harmonics in Eighteenth-Century England', Esoterica, Vol. 4 (2002), pp. 183-194. Click here to read.