Guy Aiken provides a critical appreciation of Quaker mystic Thomas Kelly (1893-1941) and his classic
A Testament of Devotion (1941). This examination of Kelly’s life and devotional writings is largely viewed through an Augustinian lens; Augustine’s
Confessions was a touchstone for Kelly after his mystical transformation in 1937-38. Aiken argues that Kelly’s vision of Quakerism transcended religious and historical boundaries, while still speaking directly, and prophetically, to mid-twentieth-century liberal Quakerism and Christianity in the United States. The volume treats, in turn, Kelly’s melding of liberal and evangelical theology, his prophetic call to his contemporaries, and his revival of an ancient ethic, before concluding with helpful suggestions for further research.
Guy Aiken, Ph.D. (2017), University of Virginia, is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Augustine & Culture Seminar Program at Villanova University. His most recent publication is an article in
Diplomatic History, “Feeding Germany: American Quakers in the Weimar Republic” (2019).
Abstract 1 Keywords 1 Introduction: Thomas Kelly, Augustinian Quaker
2 Theology: Kelly’s Melding of Liberalism and Evangelicalism
3 History: Kelly’s Challenge to the Social Gospel
4 Ethics: Kelly’s Revival of an Ancient Way of Living
5 Conclusion: Openings for Further Scholarship
All interested in mysticism and Christian devotion in the twentieth century, and the relationship between religious experience and social action, but especially scholars of American liberal religion, Quaker historians, virtue ethicists, and Protestant and Quaker ministers and laypeople.