In Brief: Myth and Mysticism in Christianity: A Challenge to Unchallenged Beliefs

By John Macort. Self-published, 2023. 233 pages. $6.99/paperback.

The author of this book is an inactive priest of the Episcopal church who also worked as a theology professor. He is a liberal Friend who worships in the unprogrammed tradition.

Macort rejects literal belief in scriptural events such as the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and events of the Old Testament. He argues that biblical figures had awe-inspiring experiences of things in the numinous realm and their encounters with the Divine were eventually recorded as legends:

Their experiences were mystical, mysterious, supernatural and beyond any description. They were in a different dimension, beyond this world, yet they were very real. We can experience Jesus only through the lens of the numinous, mystical realm, not through history or facts.

He offers a brief history and overview of Quakerism’s founding and explains such terms as “centering down” and “holding in the Light.”

Macort asserts his belief that Jesus died on the cross not as a penal substitute for humanity, but so that he could influence humankind to follow his instruction and example.

The book offers a manageable introduction to mysticism along with the author’s personal views. This volume would serve those new to Quakerism and longtime Friends equally well.

Sharlee DiMenichi is staff writer for Friends Journal.

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