The Nature of True Virtue: Theology, Psychology, and Politics in the Writings of Henry James, Sr., Henry James, Jr., and William James

By James Duban | Go to book overview

2
From Edwards to Swedenborg: Henry Senior's
Search

THE EDWARDSIANISM OF HENRY JAMES, SENIOR—WHETHER DERIVED FROM JOHN Walker or from first-hand study at Princeton Theological Seminary—clearly relates to the writings of the eighteenth-century Christian mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. Although existing scholarship sees Swedenborg as the main inspiration for the elder Henry's religious philosophy, the senior James more likely admired Swedenborg's writings because those reminded him of the most admirable feature of Edwardsianism—that is, a love of Being in general—without the limitation of Edwards's angry God. The elder James implied that readers who were already inclined to value benevolence over selfishness would inevitably and advantageously find their way to the thinking of Swedenborg: "Every man who sincerely loves the neighbor, or whose zeal for the human race is at least equal to the zeal he is in the habit of expending on his own account, is bound eventually to stumble on "Swedenborg's" unostentatious books, and reap the abundant stores of nutriment there" (SRFM, 138). For the senior Henry, that love of neighbor would already have been conditioned, beyond the New Testament, by the theology of Edwards. What the elder James located in the writings of Swedenborg was a liberal and mystical amplification of Edwardsian points compatible with nineteenth-century socialism.

In America, Swedenborgianism pervaded socialistic communes because it provided a spiritual basis for Fourierism. As John Humphrey Noyes remarked, "Fourierism had Swedenborgianism for its religion" (HAS, 550; cf. 263, 548–49). Nonetheless, Noyes felt that Swedenborgianism was ultimately "not favorable to Communism or to close Association of any kind" because "Swedenborg in his personal character was not a Socialist," the mystic respected "the ordinary principle of private property," and nineteenth-century Swedenborgianism was insufficient to "dissolve old-fashioned familism" (HAS, 589, 591). Noyes's reservations might also account for the elder Henry's Edwardsian approach to Swedenborg, especially as it pertains to a definition of True Virtue that is inimical to "private" (HAS,

-42-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Nature of True Virtue: Theology, Psychology, and Politics in the Writings of Henry James, Sr., Henry James, Jr., and William James
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.