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The Reality of God: Thoughts on the “Death of God” Controversy

By Alexander Purdy

Pendle Hill Pamphlet #154 (1967)

Price: $7.50


A Quaker professor of religion writes from neither a theological nor a philosophical approach but from his study of the New Testament.

About the Author(s)

Alexander Purdy (1890-1975) was the son of a Quaker minister. He attended William Penn College, followed by six years at Hartford Theological Seminary, where he ultimately received his Ph.D. While engaged in his studies, he served as the minister to the Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island. This pastoral work inspired the pamphlet The Reality of God. His writing placed god in the context of scientific knowledge rather than a creed. This distinguished an idea of god as a man in the clouds with a white beard from an understanding of a spiritually accessible higher power compatible with everyday life in the twentieth century. He continued to serve the school in a ministerial capacity for forty-five years. The only significant interruption to this service occurred when he began teaching at Earlham between 1916 and 1923. He returned to Hartford Theological Seminary to teach practical theology. He held that post for ten years. In 1933, he became the Hosmer professor of Biblical literature, a post that he held until 1960, balancing this responsibility with periods as the dean and the president of the school. After retirement, he almost immediately moved to Richmond where he provided invaluable assistance in starting the Earlham School of Religion. He retired in a more formal sense ten years later, and celebrated his sixtieth wedding anniversary in 1974. Alexander Purdy’s commitment to Quaker education ran deep enough for him to serve on the boards for the Moses Brown School, Pendle Hill and was an honorary lifetime member of The Earlham School of Religion’s board of advisors.

Pendle Hill Pamphlet #154

Additional information

Weight 2.3 oz