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Thomas Raymond Kelly (June 4, 1893 – January 17, 1941) was an American Quaker educator. He taught and wrote on the subject of mysticism. His books are widely read, especially by people interested in spirituality.
Mysticism is the practice of religious ecstasies, together with whatever ideologies, ethics, rites, myths, legends, and magic may be related to them. It may also refer to the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, and to human transformation supported by various practices and experiences.
The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other.
Kelly was born in 1893 in Chillicothe, Ohio to a Quaker family (members of the Religious Society of Friends). The branch of Quakerism in which he was raised (Wilmington Yearly Meeting) had been influenced by the 19th century revivalists and worship services were similar to other low-church Protestant groups.
Chillicothe is a city in and the county seat of Ross County, Ohio, United States. Located along the Scioto River 45 miles south of Columbus, Chillicothe was the first and third capital of Ohio.
He graduated in 1913 from Wilmington College as a chemistry major. Then he went to Haverford College just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he came under the mentoring of Rufus Jones, a prominent Friend. It was at this time that he came into contact with the more traditional mystical vein of the Religious Society of Friends.
Wilmington College is a private career-oriented liberal arts institution established by Quakers in 1870 in Wilmington, Ohio, United States. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Haverford College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in Haverford, Pennsylvania. All students of the college are undergraduates and nearly all reside on campus.
Rufus Matthew Jones was an American religious leader, writer, magazine editor, philosopher, and college professor. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Haverford Emergency Unit. One of the most influential Quakers of the 20th century, he was a Quaker historian and theologian as well as a philosopher. He is the only person to have delivered two Swarthmore Lectures.
Kelly went to Hartford Theological Seminary to be trained as a missionary and he desired to serve in Asia. When World War I broke out, he signed up to work for the YMCA with the troops in training at Salisbury Plain. He eventually worked with German prisoners of war. He was fired as he and many of his colleagues became ardent pacifists and the military did not want persons with those views to have access to military personnel. When he returned to the United States he completed his Seminary training and married Lael Macy.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, with more than 64 million beneficiaries from 120 national associations. It was founded on 6 June 1844 by Sir George Williams in London and aims to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy "body, mind, and spirit".
Kelly taught for two years (1919–1921) at his alma mater, Wilmington College. Then he went back to Hartford Seminary where he earned a doctorate in philosophy and an induction to Phi Beta Kappa. He and his wife then went to Berlin and worked with the American Friends' Service Committee in the child feeding program, where they were instrumental in founding the Quaker community in Germany.
Hartford Seminary is a non-denominational theological college in Hartford, Connecticut.
A doctorate or doctor's degree or doctoral degree is an academic degree awarded by universities that is, in most countries, a research degree that qualifies the holder to teach at the university level in the degree's field, or to work in a specific profession. There are a variety of doctoral degrees, with the most common being the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to the scientific disciplines.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
When he returned he was appointed head of the Philosophy Department of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He was unhappy there and came to realize that he did not agree with much of his evangelical background anymore.
Earlham College is a private liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana. The college was established in 1847 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and has a strong focus on Quaker values such as integrity, a commitment to peace and social justice, mutual respect, and community decision-making. It is primarily a residential undergraduate college but it offers a Master of Arts in Teaching and has an affiliated graduate seminary, the Earlham School of Religion, which offers three master's degrees: a Master of Divinity, Master of Ministry, and Master of Arts in Religion.
Richmond is a city in east central Indiana, United States, bordering on Ohio. It is the county seat of Wayne County, and in the 2010 census had a population of 36,812. Situated largely within Wayne Township, its area includes a non-contiguous portion in nearby Boston Township, where the Richmond Municipal Airport is located.
Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message. The movement has had a long presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.
In 1930 Kelly began working on a second Ph.D. at Harvard. While working on this degree he taught at Wellesley College (1931–1932) and again at Earlham (1932–1935). In 1935, he went to teach at the University of Hawaii and began advanced research in Eastern philosophies.
In 1936, Kelly became a professor at Haverford College. He published the dissertation for his second doctorate in 1937, but he failed in the oral defense due to a memory lapse. This failure put Kelly into a period of grief, during which time he apparently had a spiritual awakening.
In 1938, Kelly went to Germany to encourage Friends living under Hitler's regime.
Kelly received word on January 17, 1941, that Harper and Brothers was willing to meet with him to discuss the publication of a devotional book. He died of a heart attack in Haverford, Pennsylvania later that same day.Three months later Kelly's colleague, Douglas V. Steere, submitted five of Kelly's devotional essays to the publisher along with a biographical sketch of Kelly. The book was published under the title A Testament of Devotion. Some of his other essays have been collected in a book entitled The Eternal Promise. A formal biography was written by his son, Richard Kelly in 1966, and published by Harper and Row.
James Rendel Harris was an English biblical scholar and curator of manuscripts, who was instrumental in bringing back to light many Syriac Scriptures and other early documents. His contacts at the Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt enabled twin sisters Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson to discover there the Sinaitic Palimpsest, the oldest Syriac New Testament document in existence. He subsequently accompanied them on a second trip, with Robert Bensly and Francis Crawford Burkitt, to decipher the palimpsest. He himself discovered there other manuscripts. Harris's Biblical Fragments from Mount Sinai appeared in 1890. He was a Quaker.
Richard James Foster is a Christian theologian and author in the Quaker tradition. His writings speak to a broad Christian audience. Born in 1942, in New Mexico, Foster has been a professor at Friends University and pastor of Evangelical Friends churches. Foster resides in Denver, Colorado. He earned his undergraduate degree at George Fox University in Oregon and his Doctor of Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, and received an honorary doctorate from Houghton College.
T. Canby Jones was an advocate of the War of the Lamb, a Quaker peace activist, a professor emeritus of Wilmington College in Ohio, and was a student of Thomas R. Kelly. T. Canby Jones died in Paoli Memorial Hospital, suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Joseph John Gurney was a banker in Norwich, England and a member of the Gurney family of that city. He became an evangelical minister of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), whose views and actions led, ultimately, to a schism among American Quakers.
Earlham School of Religion (ESR), a graduate division of Earlham College, located in Richmond, Indiana, is the oldest graduate seminary associated with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). ESR's Mission Statement is as follows: "Earlham School of Religion is a Christian graduate theological school in the Quaker tradition. ESR prepares women and men for leadership that empowers and for ministry that serves. This mission grows out of our Christian belief that God calls everyone to ministry. Using a transformative model of education, ESR encourages students to explore the intellectual, spiritual, and practical dimensions of their calls to ministry."
Isaac Sharpless, Sc.D., LL.D., L.H.D. (1848–1920) was an American educator, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard in 1873 and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from there in 1915. He was employed at Haverford College for many years, becoming professor in 1879, dean in 1884, and president in 1887.
David Elton Trueblood, who was usually known as "Elton Trueblood" or "D. Elton Trueblood", was a noted 20th-century American Quaker author and theologian, former chaplain both to Harvard and Stanford universities.
The Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS) is a voluntary, non-profit consortium of independent schools in the Delaware Valley area of the United States. With headquarters in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the Association currently has 134 members located throughout eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and central and southern New Jersey.
Lewis Benson (1906–1986) was perhaps the 20th century's greatest expert on the writings of George Fox. And although this expertise was widely acknowledged, he was also a voice crying in the wilderness, for he sought to herald a gospel greater than he to a body of modern Quakers with little taste for it. His appreciation of his situation is beautifully captured in a 1954 letter to his sister-in-law, which he wrote to decline her invitation to join an intentional community associated with a non-Quaker sect. He wrote, in part:
I have never been committed to the principles of 20th century Quakerism. I was aware almost from the beginning that the Quakerism of today has almost nothing in common with the Quakerism of Fox. I have taken my stand in the Society of Friends as the champion of a forgotten faith, and I have never taken a cynical or pessimistic view about the possibility that Friends might recover their rightful heritage. I have taken a stand and worked for a cause for nearly 20 years, but although I have accomplished nothing, I am not in the least discouraged….It is my firm belief that God has still a work for the Quakers to do and I want to help lay the foundations that will make that work possible.
J. Brent Bill is an American author who now lives in Mooresville, Indiana. He is also a photographer and retreat leader.
Caspar René Gregory was an American-born German theologian.
Howard Haines Brinton (1884–1973) was an author, professor and director whose work influenced the Religious Society of Friends movement for much of the 20th century. His books ranged from Quaker journal anthologies to philosophical and historical dissertations on the faith, establishing him as a prominent commentator on the Society of Friends.
Douglas Van Steere (1901–1995) was an American Quaker ecumenist. He was born on August 31, 1901 in Harbor Beach, Michigan and died February 16, 1995.
Thomas Elsa Jones was the fifth president of Fisk University, serving from 1926 to 1946. He was also president of Earlham College. A Quaker, Jones served as a missionary with his wife in Japan.
Landrum Rymer Bolling was an American journalist and diplomat and a noted pacifist who was a leading expert and activist for peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He first worked as a war correspondent during and after World War II. He taught at Beloit College and Brown University before serving as president of Earlham College from 1958 to 1973. He was actively involved in the foreign policies of several presidential administrations, serving as an unofficial communication channel between the U.S. and the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Jimmy Carter's administration. He was honored with many awards for his work to promote peace, and in the fall of 2002, Earlham College named its new social sciences building after him.
Joan Frances Gormley, a consecrated virgin in the Catholic Church, was an American scholar in the fields of classical literature and of biblical studies. She was a professor in the Department of Sacred Scripture at Mount St. Mary's Seminary. She translated and produced a number of works by leading Catholic mystics, such as Saints Edith Stein and John of Avila.
Otto Theodor Benfey is a chemist and historian of science. Sent to England to escape Nazi Germany at age 10, he completed his education as a chemist at University College London before moving to the United States. A Quaker and a pacifist, Benfey taught at Haverford College, Earlham College, and Guilford College, retiring in 1988 as the Dana Professor of Chemistry and History of Science, Emeritus.