«By CAROLE ANNE HAMBY A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Department of Theology and Religion ...»
A THEOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF INWARDNESS IN THE FAITH AND
PRACTICE OF BRITISH QUAKERS
CAROLE ANNE HAMBY
A thesis submitted to the
University of Birmingham
for the degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
Department of Theology and Religion
College of Arts and Law
The University of Birmingham
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Abstract This thesis examines Inwardness in the faith and practice of British Quakers.
Inwardness is identified within the spiritual and mystical component of individual Friends’ experiences and discussed in terms of personal experiential knowing. Both academic and devotional discourses are used to clarify what is meant by ‘spiritual consciousness’, framed both within corporate, albeit mainly tacit, formulations of Inwardness, and expressed by leading exponents of Quakerism, at two different stages of the history of the Religious Society of Friends.
The thesis makes an original contribution to scholarship in three ways: it identifies a distinct view of Quaker Inwardness in terms of process and state; it provides a new model of spiritual development through the Quaker worship practice; and it offers an explanation of spiritual maturity. The latter is identified with reference to an understanding of Interiority, which has consequences. Two Conditions and seven Elements of the process of gaining the state of Inwardness are identified and are found to be consistent between seventeenth and twenty-first century Quakers.
Throughout the thesis analysis, reference to expansion of consciousness is interpreted in relation to mysticism, and proposes finally a new perspective on Quaker theology.
ii Dedication For my sister, who introduced me to my spiritual path, For my partner, who enabled me to live the path fully, And For His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, my spiritual guide;
He made everything possible.
iii Acknowledgements I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to two mentors in particular: One for theoretical and academic guidance, the other for influence both practical and spiritual.
In the course of working for this doctorate, Ben Pink Dandelion, has been a constant ‘by my side’. He has questioned and challenged me, and offered constructive comment and criticism, without Ben this thesis would not have been brought to a conclusion. Thank you so much Ben. Just as the thesis would not have been finished without Ben, it would not have been started without Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The many years during which I studied, worked and travelled with Maharishi were formative. It would be difficult to put into words my reverent gratitude and continuing devotion … suffice to say
Jai Guru Dev.
En route to completion, many people, Quakers and others, have stimulated my thinking, confirmed or challenged my understanding and helped me on my way: these people include some of those whom I have quoted, and especially, Rex Ambler and Melvin Keiser. Additionally, I acknowledge, with gratitude, those who have commented on sections of the thesis in progress as readers: Beth Allen, Betty Hagglund, Peter Leeming, Hugh McLeod, Rosemary Moore, and Chris Partridge; and I also thank my Local Quaker Meeting (in Kendal) for financial and other support, in particular Jane Chattell for early proofing guidance. I thank Maria Kennedy for later proofing, and Steve Timpson, Sonia Lee Cooke and the Birmingham University IT service department for computer-aid; the fellowship of the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre (in Birmingham); Woodbrooke Librarian, Ian Jackson, and, in particular, Assistant Librarian, Bettina Gray, for her endless patience and practical help; the Quaker Adult Grants Group for financial support and, finally, many who serve differing communities, on the level of silent spiritual practice, as part of their devotion to a spiritual path.
1.3 Quaker Inwardness: Relevant previous scholarship (Academic) 15 1.3.1 The focus of knowledge gained in and through Inwardness 16 1.3.2 The nature of knowledge gained in and through Inwardness 22 1.3.3 The purpose of knowledge gained in and through Inwardness 28
Inwardness and Dualism with specific reference to Robert Barclay’s Apology 4.2 125 4.2.1 Melvin Keiser’s relational interpretation of Barclay’s work 125 4.2.2 Rex Ambler’s supportive view of Barclay’s use of dualistic language 128
4.3.1i ‘[T]he most refined and famous of all sorts of professors of Christianity of all ages’ 133
Note on Terms
1) The terms ‘Friend(s)’ and ‘Quaker(s)’ are used interchangeably throughout the thesis as they have come to be used synonymously through the 360 year history of the Religious Society of Friends.
2) Towards the end of the thesis reference is made to present day Friends who may continue to engage in the spiritual practice that is true to Fox’s seventeenth century teaching, as detailed in this thesis. These Friends are referred to as F-Q members or F-Q participants in worship, in order to distinguish them from those Friends who engage in other practices or are non-theist, termed here as non F-Q Friends.
1) Upper and lower case, and gender references are reproduced in quotations as printed in their original form.
2) Occasionally there may appear to be inconsistency in usage of upper case, as for example, L/light and U/unity. The difference in usage applies when quotation distinguishes between reference to ‘the Light’ as concerning God or Christ and ‘Unity’ in the specified sense of identified Elements of Quaker Spiritual Practice or the mature state of spiritual development. In these instances upper case is used.
Some quotations differ however.
3) In the case of the term ‘Inwardness’ capitalisation is employed after chapter 2 to signify the specific understanding defined in chapter 1 and explained and made explicit in the progress of the thesis through chapters 2-5.
4) Several terms are specific in their usage, as defined within the thesis, when this is so upper case is used – examples include ‘Conditions’ and ‘Elements’. When the term is used to relate to a more general understanding lower case is used.
5) References noted as [g] in the text indicate glossary inclusions.
6) Biblical references, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the KJV study Bible, Red Letter Edition (Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Publishing, 2011). Biblical references are used, in the main, to support the fact that Quakerism arose within a Christian context.
This thesis examines Inwardness in the experiential theology of British Quakers by identifying and analysing accounts of the faith and practice of Friends. 1 It argues for an understanding of Quaker Inwardness in four ways: as process, as developmental, as having consequences and as having an ultimate state of Interiority. The latter entails a proposal for a model of spiritual maturity potentially attainable through Quaker spiritual practice. 2 The research examines Inwardness both as a theological concept and as a practical guide to living.3 1 The term Inwardness, as used within this thesis, indicates self-referring consciousness (mind turned to its own consciousness): it is understood as a process of inwardly turned waiting. Inwardness is not a reflective engagement, in the sense of being discursively thoughtful; it is rather a silent witnessing which affords many Quakers the knowing of ‘that of God within’. (See also glossary). Hinds considers ‘inwardness’ in terms of ‘material internalisation of the divine in the doctrine of the inward light’ writing about the inwardness of everything. Additionally, Hinds makes reference to Richard Bailey’s language of ‘integrated immanence’. These conceptions relate to Inwardness in the specific sense examined here but entail ideas that are not intended in the thesis. See Hinds, H. George Fox and the Early Quaker Culture, (Manchester: University Press, 2011) p. 17 and p. 19.
2 See Table 1.
3 The practical consequence of Inwardness is referred to in this thesis as ‘functional’ or ‘operational’. It is discussed in relation to Melvin Keiser’s understanding of Inwardness as the dimension of depth in human lives that has been largely overlooked by modern thought. Keiser maintains that this ‘dimension of depth’ must be engaged in the pursuit of truth yet acknowledges that academics have difficulty in doing this. (Personal communication by e mail 3.2.12). The term ‘inward’ was the favoured term of Fox and early Quakers. The use of the term ‘inner’ is, a later development, which ‘dramatically [redefines] where divinity resides and for some [replaces] the former Quaker idea of original sin with a sense of innate goodness’ Dandelion, B.P. ‘Finding our Vision’, in The Friends Quarterly, 2, (2011), pp. 13-25. Both terms imply an interiorised spirituality, the former interpreted as exclusively Christian by early Quakers, the latter as interpreted more liberally by present day Friends. See also Bailey, R. New Light on George Fox and Early Quakerism, (San Francisco: Mellen Research University Press, 1992) for further examination of the nature of the inward/inner Light and its changed interpretation in late seventeenth century Quakerism. (See also later discussion in chapter 6).
1 The notion of Inwardness, as ‘turning within’, features regularly in Quaker texts.4 However, there is no explicitly held definition or corporate understanding of the term or its importance for Quaker faith and practice.5 Several studies touch on relevant issues but unanswered questions remain.6 These include, for example, the significance of Christianity in Quaker comprehension of Inwardness and the relationship between experience and theory in Quaker theology. Additionally, links between notions of ‘light’ [g], ‘seed’ [g], and ‘the Christ within’ are considered when associated with Inwardness in Quaker writings.7 The teachings of the dominant leader of Quakerism, George Fox, provide the starting point for analysis, following which the thesis examines the work of other Quaker writers to analyse the meanings attributed to Inwardness within British Quakerism.8 The thesis advances a new approach to a theological examination of Quaker faith and practice that acknowledges the relationship between Quakerism and mysticism.9 Thus, this work fills a 4 See, however, Fox, G Works Epistle LV1 (Philadelphia: AMS, 1975) p. 72, ‘... wait all in that which calls your minds inward and turns them to God’.
5 Examples of usage are to be found referenced liberally throughout the thesis.
Studies include: King, R. Hadley, George Fox and the Light Within 1650 -1660, (Philadelphia:
Friends Book Store, 1940). Eeg-Olofsson, L., ‘The Conception of the Inner Light in Robert Barclay's Theology’, Unpublished Ph. D Thesis Lund: Gleerup 1954. Creasey, M. Early Quaker Christology.
Unpublished Ph. D., Leeds: University of Leeds, 1956. Endy, M. J. William Penn and Early Quakerism.
(Princeton: University Press, 1973). Gwyn, D. Apocalypse of the Word, (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1987). R Bailey. New Light, 1992; Hinds, H., George Fox, 2011. All discussed in 1.3.
7 See 1.3.
8 Braithwaite, W.C. The Beginnings of Quakerism, (London: Macmillan, 1912), pp.28-42, Fox as the ‘founder ‘of Quakerism. W.C. Braithwaite is, together with J. W. Rowntree and Rufus Jones, one of the authors of the Rowntree History Series, which outlines and promotes the growth of Liberal Quakerism and its concern to revitalise worship, education for ministry and the educational values of the Religious Society of Friends. According to Alice Southern, their writings demonstrate a degree of ‘re-styling’ of early Quakerism (see Southern, A. ‘The Rowntree History Series and the growth of Liberal Quakerism’ in Quaker Studies Vol. 16. No. 1. (2011) pp. 7-73, also chapter 5 for discussion of the developments in Liberal Quakerism).
However, as referenced in the thesis, the claims attributed to Braithwaite are based on his assiduous collection of historical facts about early Quakerism rather than his opinion as to how these facts should be interpreted.
9 See Jones, R. The Faith and Practice of the Quakers (Richmond, Indiana: Friends United Press, 2002) p.34, regarding Friends aim to ground religion forever upon ‘an inherent relation between God as living Spirit and the elemental spiritual nature of man’. This thesis moves beyond the work of Rufus Jones in its detailed analysis of Quaker spiritual practice and examination of the potential of spiritual development as the outcome.
2 gap within the study of Quakerism, since it places Inwardness and its mystical background at the heart of Friends’ faith and practice in a manner not previously undertaken.
Systematic analysis of Friends’ spiritual practice facilitates a new mode of describing and interpreting both the practice itself and its potential for advancing the spiritual development of practitioners.10 Finally, the understanding of Quaker ‘growth of measure’ interpreted in terms of expansion of consciousness offers: 1) a new way of considering spiritual development and spiritual maturity in the theology of British Quakers, and 2) a potentially valuable approach to examining the contemplative practices of some other traditions, in terms of consciousness.11
This research contributes new thinking to Quaker studies in three ways. These are: