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Book Reviews Giorgio Fox e L· Religione Laica degli Amici (nel terzo centenario della orìgine del movimento): Contributo alla Formazione di Libere Coscienze Religiose. By Giovanni Pioli. Rome: 1948. 48 pages. (Copies may be obtained from die Friends World Committee for Consultation, 20 Soudi 12th Street, Philadelphia 7, Pennsylvania.) * 'T1HESE lectures are intended as an introduction to Professor Pioli's Italian version of George Fox's Journal, and were given in various cities of Italy during the George Fox tercentenary. They are filled with an almost unqualified enthusiasm at the discovery of a practicable "lay" religion, which the author made at a Friends Conference at Selly Oak in 1948 and a subsequent sojourn among English Friends. This enthusiasm grew, especially under Horace Alexander's plea for the recognition of the Inner Light or "that of God in every man" as the one central principle which could unite Hindoos, Mohammedans, Jews, and Christians of all denominations in one common mystical experience. Professor Pioli's main references are the writings of Edward Grubb (perhaps the only Quaker writer hidierto published in Italian), Wilfred Littleboy, and Rufus M. Jones. The latter's interpretation of Quakerism is summed up in the penultimate chapter: die Inner Light is not to be conceived as an abstract theological doctrine, but as the experience of God in ourselves and in our fellow man; this of necessity leads to its manifestation in service as the visible manifestation and sacramental validation of our experience. One chapter is headed with this quotation from Tertullian: "Hast tíiou seen thy brother? Thou has seen thy God. Bow down and worship." The booklet ends with the description of a Friends meeting for worship at Bournville, overshadowed by the great personalities of George Cadbury and Keir Hardie, the founder of an industrial empire and the miners' delegate, united under God in their prayer for usefulness to their fellow-men. It is interesting to note how Professor Pioli connects the principles and experiences of Quakerism with his own humanist tradition. He refers repeatedly to Fausto Socino of Siena, "die fore-runner of Unitarianism ," who wanted to abolish, or at least weaken the emphasis on "trinitarian, redemptorist and sacramentalist theology" as remnants from Hellenism and the Oriental mystery religions, and who pleaded instead for a Christianity drawing its inspiration from the lofty morality * A "Briefer Notice" of this pamphlet appeared earlier in die Bulletin, 38 (Autumn, 1949) , 125. Since Quaker writings in Italian are so rare, however, it seemed proper to give space to this fuller review. It was written in die first instance for die Friends World Committee for Consultation, but has not previously appeared in print.—Editor. Ill 112Bulletin of Friends Historical Association of the Sermon on the Mount. This "Socinianism" is characteristic of die tenor of diese lectures. Pioli does, however, recognise diat die inwardness of George Fox is both immanent and transcendent. It is "a direct and personal relation of the conscious self (io cosciente) with die deep self (io profondo)" die "God in ourselves" of John 1:9. But it is also a relation to that "oversoul" that is above die individual and works in it and in all souls for a universal end" (p. 8) . To proclaim diis trutìi, Pioli points out, George Fox used the theology of his time. We should not diink less of him, he goes on, for offering us his teaching in traditional trappings, even though diey sometimes seem to hide it as "under a parasitic vegetation" (p. 9) . Such a piece of tradition is Fox's unqualified acceptance of die old Christology in spite of die fact that tiiis Christology in some points is logically undermined "by his fundamentally immanentist position." In my opinion this criticism is as condescending as it is inaccurate. The greatness of George Fox consists in die fact diat he did not break the tables of die old Üieology but that, in die spirit of Christ, he came to press for its fulfilment. Christ was no less born in Nazareth because he had been discovered in die soul of each human being. It is die undying merit of George Fox tiiat he took diis brand of insight diat had...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 111-113
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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