A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article focuses on the early-twentieth-century Quaker historian and philosopher of mysticism, Rufus Jones, who treated Quietism as in polar opposition to the work of Quakerism “here in this world.” Consequently, he placed Quietism within a negatively-constructed framework of belief, identifying much of its influence in Quaker history on the spiritual teachings of the Miguel de Molinos, Madame Guyon, and François Fénelon. This article examines Jones's premise that Quietism was “no more than a noble mood, too rare and abstract to be translated into real human life.” It contends that Jones's aversion to Quietist influences in Quaker history had more to do with his own personal ambivalences, his response to the violence of World War I, his modernizing agenda, and his distorted understanding of Quietist spirituality than with anything inherent to Quietism itself.

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