JONATHAN EDWARDS by David--Ed. Levin

JONATHAN EDWARDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A distinguished collection of writings concerning the work and life of the remarkable eighteenth century American theologian and cleric--particularly salutary for those who tend to confuse this somber but brilliant, religious man with the fiery Mather dynasty. Isolated by his genius and his espousal of a rigid Calvinism during the changing temper of New England religion, Edwards was dismissed after twenty-five years as minister to a congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts. Some of the heat of the rash and angry confrontation between the villagers and Edwards is conveyed in a hitherto buried commentary by Edwards' student Samuel Hopkins; but the chronology of the seething discontent is still a mystery. However, Edwards' work still intrigues theologians, historians, philosophers. To the late Perry Miller, Edwards was ""the last great American... for whom there could be no warfare between religion and science""; for John E. Smith, Edwards pointed up that ""taste of divine excellence (which) marks the difference between genuine piety and the merely conceptual grasp of religious doctrine."" Carse, Wilson, Walker (a 19th century Congregationalist), Parks, Gay and two poems by Robert Lowell extend the editor's conception of Edwards' work as arising from a unique and passionate piety. A fine general reader for students of history, theology, literature.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1969
Publisher: Hill & Wang