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Thomas Gates


Quaker Culture: Notions Quakers have always been wary of what George Fox called “airy notions,” speculative ideas or doctrines not rooted in our experience . . . But we tend to forget that early Friends paradoxically never seemed to be at a loss for words: they made use of a rich and evocative vocabulary to describe their experience with the Divine. This vocabulary consisted not so much of propositions or declarations, but of metaphors like Light, Seed, Spirit, Inward Teacher, Wisdom from Above, Life. They understood that in speaking about the Divine, metaphors (however imperfect) are all we have.

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)