I have picked up a new (to me) book — or rather I have downloaded it onto my e-reader.

It is by somebody named Leslie Stevenson and it is called Open to New Light: Quaker Spirituality in Historical and Philosophical Context.

I was wondering if anyone else has had any experience with this book?

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Hello, David McKay!I haven't read the new book.  For better or for worse, I worry more about our closed attitude toward "old" light!

My work lately has been directed at describing and analyzing the traditional Conservative Quaker faith and inquiring about its relationship to current (especially Biblical) scholarship and church history, all with a good dose of critical evaluation.

Having expressed these reservations, I would like to know more about the author's take on Quaker spirituality.  Groan, another book to buy!

So thus far (I'm not very far in yet) we have the preface — which seems a fairly reductionist approach to mapping out the territory of the book. He is defining "spirituality" in terms of seven categories derived analytically from… someplace. His seven categories make perfect sense I'm just not convinced of the method there and I would probably want to add stuff to it. But that's just the preface and he's obviously got the training of philosopher rather than a student of spirituality per se.

Chapter 1 begins with the ancient Greeks. He's doing a historical as well as a philosophical analysis of the subject matter. And his focus so far has been Plato and Socrates. We seems to take from Socrates is an insistence that inquiry be open ended. He also notes Socrates claim to hear a voice which never told him what to do but often told him what not to do.

If I were to predict where this is going to go — and he doesn't seem to be trying to hold his cards close to his chest — I would say that he's going to argue that Quakerism — whether or not you buy the whole inner light thing — is a viable and even preferable spiritual path simply because the doctrine of inner light tends to result in people who are going to be open-minded about new learnings.

But as I said — I'm not very far along yet.

Of course light isn't new.  It just takes time to reach us from its source. 

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