Excerpt from Quaker Aspects of Truth circa 1913








So opens the book  Quaker Aspects of Truth, written by E. Vipont Brown, M.D. Its date of publication is missing from my copy but I have gleaned from online research  that it was published around 1913.

I quote here something from his discussion on what we might today call "non-violent atonement", however he writes more simply  and I can understand his argument better than when I attempt to read modern theologians.

  "But, for. the most part, (these) expiatory ideas crept in through a too literal interpretation of metaphor.  The Bible, like all Eastern writings, is full of poetic imagery, which we more prosaic Western nations have been far too ready to translate into the dogmas of prose.  Thus, for example, Christ spoke of His work as a ransom, and no metaphor could have been more exquisitely appropriate.  He disciples must have felt its force and could not have misunderstood our Lord's meaning.  They must have felt that they had been under the dominion of sin, and that Christ had freed them from its bondage.  The effect of His work had indeed been that of a ransom.  But Augustine, with a cruel logic, translated this exquisite metaphor into the appalling doctrine that the blood of Jesus Christ was a priced paid to Satan to free us from his power.

  The metaphor was true and appropriate, the doctrine was false and utterly revolting."   (108)

   Brown, Vipont, E.  Circa 1913.  The Swarthmore Press LTD.  London

Views: 190

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 24, 2014 at 5:19pm
Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 24, 2014 at 5:23pm

Correction" This book appears to have been written in 1921.

Comment by Robben Wainer on 9th mo. 26, 2014 at 1:36am

While I have never felt I was under the power of Satan, I would consider this metaphor of being held for ransom by sin to warrant a price to be paid for this release. Yet I would have to propose that while amongst those in a moral community, that our scrupulous insight which sometimes is called to appease indifference even by means of self scrutiny, maybe one that is not of victims and the guilty, but one that asks us to raise our consciousness that our eyes may be opened, and that the amends for harm done truly be brought to the light as a correction of errors that steered us away from our individual path to enlightenment and grace.

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 26, 2014 at 12:05pm

Thanks Robben.   Luke 19 5:8 is a verse that especially speaks to me in this regard.  I was also curious as to what E. Vipont's son Ralph sacrificed and under that conditions, and looking it up as can be found in link above, I saw it relevant to present day times, regarding war and the ebola breakout.  

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 26, 2014 at 1:10pm

I think the scriptures show that the Apostles misunderstood a lot of what Jesus told them.  Furthermore the unceasing disputes between his followers ever since is pretty clear evidence that Jesus' followers still do.

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 26, 2014 at 1:24pm

Yea, that's right James.  Much I don't understand, but some of the basic instructions are not that complicated to follow.  When I try my best to follow the basic instructions, that seems to work out,  whether I understand the more complicated theological underpinnings and the various disputes about them or not.

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 26, 2014 at 11:03pm

I think theology is overrated.  Lots of people don't know the science behind gravity but we all learn to live with it.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 9th mo. 27, 2014 at 5:55pm

Thank you, James. Can I quote you?

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 27, 2014 at 10:03pm

I'm sure I just repeated what someone someplace has already said but please feel free to repeat it without attribution.:)

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 27, 2014 at 10:27pm

yeah James. Funny thing is I was going to say the same thing, post the same thing. before you said it! It is something I say now and then and I don't know when I first heard it.  The fact that it speaks to at least the three of us seems meaningful.  Just makes a lot of sense to me.  I don't have to know how gravity works to know I should be aware of it and work with it.    .   .  Its laws are simple for practical purposes, and for the most part,  spiritual life works fine even when one doesn't understand the depths of it.  I understand less and less, the further I go, because I see there is more and more to understand.   Nevertheless our instructions are so very simple, so very basic.   If we reduced them all the way down to the one basic instruction, that is love of one's neighbor.   .     We are just one step away from paradise.


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