Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1958

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

Advisor

Committee Chair

Abstract

This thesis is a summary and presentation of the philosophical teachings of Dr. Rufus Matthew Jones, along with his historical review of the Quaker Church. Jones was an influential person among the Orthodox Quakers. This branch of the Quaker Church is and has been the strongest body in promoting humanitarian service and has given to the world its attitude toward Quakerdom. Since Dr. Jones was the instructor of philosophy at Haverford College and was the first chairman of the American Friends Service Committee, it made his writings of paramount interest. The fifty- seven books which Rufus Jones wrote were read and the important statements of each chapter were compiled to give a summary of each book. From these summaries, the essential teachings were formulated and the major topics became the chapter titles in the thesis. It was found that Jones wanted to develop his inner life and everything which he wrote, in some way, interpreted to him and to his readers a phase of spiritual development. His autobiographical books showed his own personal inner development. He wrote continuously upon mysticism as a method of inner development and also made a study of the men who he considered were mystics in history. Beginning with the early mystics as Plato, John the Disciple, Meister Eckhart and others, he showed how religious liberalism began to find expression in individual lives. Each of these men wanted to follow God according to his own understanding of religion without conforming to an organized body. George Fox, who was the founder of the Quaker way of life, attempted to maintain religion without organization. To Jones, Fox attained the highest example of developing the inner life and was successful in passing it on to others by forming the Quaker Church. Fox realized that a degree of organization was necessary to have a unified group. The organization that was established by the early Quakers was felt, by Jones, to give the greatest liberty for the expression of the inner man. He tried to show this experience in his Quaker histories. It was further found that Dr. Jones wanted to unite the divisions of the Quaker Church that had come over a period of years and he devoted his life to promote education and humanitarian service, hoping to bring about a reconciliation. Although his efforts were never completely accepted by all Quaker groups, it is certain that he greatly influenced and even set a pattern for many of the present teachings of the Orthodox Quakers.

Rights

Copyright 1958 Francis Ross

Comments

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