Edwards, Jonathan. (1703 - 1758).
L i f e
- born in Connectitut x but: >> moved to Massachusetts
- received university education (Yale)
- became a preacher and tutor
- determined to improve himself, began writing a didactic-like diary on the college <=> B. Franklin
- championed the orthodox Puritanism = the concept of total depravity, futility of human efforts to achieve salvation, and God as the omnipotent judge
- his Northampton congregation anticipated the New England ‘Great Awakening’ (1740s) [= wandering priests toured the country to convince people to save themselves]
W o r k
< influenced by the philosophy of John Locke and Bishop G. Berkeley
R e l i g i o u s W r i t i n g :
- describes the mystical conversion in his youth to influence his philosophy
A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections:
- seeks to reconcile Puritanism with new theories
- intellectual comprehension of religious doctrines insufficient, personal experience of the doctrinal truths necessary
- ‘affections’ = not only emotions x but: the force moving an individual toward affirmative possession or repudiation
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”:
= a sulphurous sermon to induce a personal experience of depravity as the necessary 1st step to conversion
- uses vivid images of judgement, damnation, and hell
- his sermons often evoked fainting, swooning, and other physical reactions
P h i l o s o p h i c a l W r i t i n g :
- wrote when he served as a frontier minister
- seeks to build up a philosophy based on the Puritan faith
- examine the nature and place of free will in a predetermined universe
- creates a bridge between the old Puritan world and the new world of scientific studies
Freedom of the Will (1754):
= his philosophical-theological masterpiece
The Doctrine of Original Sin Defended
The Nature of True Virtue
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorJonathan Edwards. (1703 - 1758). American.
WorkTheologian. Preacher. Missionary.
GenresPhilosophical-theological writing. Sermons.
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"True liberty consists only in the power of doing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we ought not to will".
From Freedom of the Will (1754).