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Edwards, Jonathan (1703–1758)


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


North American theologian. A Congregational minister in Massachusetts and for a brief period the president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, Jonathan Edwards was a theologian with unusual philosophical acumen as well as the most formidable defender of Calvinism in the history of North America. During his lifetime and for several generations thereafter, Edwards's reputation rested on his advocacy of religious revivals. But the recovery in the twentieth century of the full range of his works has also revealed his considerable power in metaphysics, ethics, and psychology. Although Edwards exerted considerable influence in Scotland (especially among evangelicals like John Erskine, Thomas Chalmers and James Orr, as well as indirectly on John McLeod Campbell), England (especially the Northamptonshire Baptist Association), Wales and the Netherlands, his work is best known and has been most thoroughly studied in the USA. Edwards graduated from Yale College at sixteen and then studied theology privately for several years. During that period, he underwent a conversion in which, as he later put it, ‘there came into my soul, and was diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being’ (Edwards, 1974, vol. 1, p. xiii). To communicate this divine glory became the burden of his life as pastor and theologian. Edwards served briefly as the minister of a Presbyterian church in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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