The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Theme, Motif, and Style

The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Theme, Motif, and Style

The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Theme, Motif, and Style

The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Theme, Motif, and Style

Excerpt

Jonathan Edwards has received more critical attention than any other New England Puritan minister. His biography has been excellently told by Ola Winslow, and his thought, influential in his own time, still generates interest among theologians, philosophers, and historians. Several of these more recent studies have become landmarks in our current appreciation of Edwards. The work of Perry Miller, for instance, provided insight into Edwards' thought and its relation to his time, particularly with regard to the writings of the seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke. In many ways Miller's seminal work exerted such an authority that it furnished the premises for more than one subsequent study of the Puritan divine. The surprising factor in this situation is the unavoidable suspicion, on the part of anyone investigating Edwards' ideas, that Miller exaggerated their relation to Lockean notions. No one, to be sure, can deny Edwards' familiarity with Lockean concepts or his use of them in some way in his work; this fact is precisely Miller's contribution. But, as several critics have remarked, there is a need to temper considerably the view that Locke's influence on Edwards' thought was pervasive.

A perusal of New England Puritan sermons, for example . . .

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