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George Fox and the Gnostic Gospels - Friends Journal

George Fox and the Gnostic Gospels

When planning a two-week walking tour in the Yorkshire hills of northern England, I realized the foot path we had chosen, the Dales Way, would take us through the heart of the region where George Fox preached in the all-important summer of 1652. We spent the last two days of our trip at Swarthmoor Hall. Once there, we immersed ourselves: wandering through the seventeenth-century manor house; sitting in the stillness of the Quaker meeting given by Fox to early Friends; exploring the burial grounds...

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Lyndon Back is a member of Old Haverford (Pa.) Meeting. She serves on the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group. Her articles and poems have appeared in Pendle Hill publications, Friends Journal, and Quaker History. Lyndon is writing an account of her experiences as a peace worker in former Yugoslavia during the war years.

Posted in: Features, June/July 2014

2 Responses to George Fox and the Gnostic Gospels

  1. Chester Kirchman June 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    City & State
    Orangeville, PA
    I found your mentioning of Carl Gustave Jung’s ideas in psychology, of interest, in a piece on George Fox and Gnostic Gospels, Friend Lyndon Back. Jung may have reached these ideas under the influence of his desire in alchemical research to find the eternal life drink, especially with his training under Sigmund Freud and research with people having psychological problems. His ideas were a source of a game with friends years ago. It is called the Myers-Briggs Test, but I will not get into that, now.

    Our Friends Society seems to have a much better understanding of the Inner (or Inward) Light than Jung ever comprehended in the variations of his writings. He never really considers a normal person(s) selective attention (or vision) in his creation of synchronicity or the coincidences of events or happenings actually meaning something special. For each person, particular coincidences correlation may or may not have valuable meaning, depending on each’s light. Plus at this point in time, the world is starting to show a Global Consciousness in the similarities of views from many different cultures with our technological connection. An ambiguity in Jung’s idea of Collective Unconsciousness is even mentioned in the Wikipedia presentation on it.

    I do not mean to be derogatory in these statements. It is just the use of psychological views in the early 20th Century in a story on George Fox and Gnostic Gospels and my educational study of both areas in relation to Holistic or Quaker Education with a religious influence. Thank You

    May God be wit you.

  2. Charles and Jeannine Thomas July 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    City & State
    Benson, AZ
    In the early ’80’s, we were living in MS, isolated so to speak. I happened on a copy of the Nag Hammadi and read it with interest as it presented many very different voices of the early church. Other readings followed ultimately leading to Elaine Pagels’ Gnostic Gospels. Her good scholarship though not entirely my take on the writings opened the idea that George Fox had truly rediscovered the truth of the early Jesus teachings. This article re-awakened the reality of that experience.

    I have since moved toward Buddhism and the ‘tools’ offered in seeking spiritual matters, but I remain deeply Quaker in my worship practice and universalist in my outlook.

    Thank you so much for this article in particular and indeed the entire issue. This issue is simply one of the best in recent years.

    Peace, Charlie Thomas Cascabel, Arizona

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