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Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) and the Nature of Theology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter evaluates Jonathan Edwards' theological inquiry by a more in-depth view of Protestant scholasticism and its trajectories. It focuses on a single document wherein Edwards distinctively lays out his understanding of the nature of theology-a sermon of November 1739, published as The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth. Though steeped in seventeenth-century English Puritanism and continental post-Reformation reformed thought, New England's theological orthodoxy and practice were put to the test during these years. Moreover, in the tumultuous years 1737-1742, Edwards drafted at the close of 1739 a "Preface to the Rational Account", where he mentions, "some things that may justly make suspect that the present fashionable divinity is wrong". The chapter suggests that in these times of New England's contested theology and its practice, Edwards emerged as an example of effectively communicating the fundamentals of Christian theology-catholic in its trajectory and contemporary in its setting.

Keywords: Christian theology; Jonathan Edwards; new England's theological orthodoxy; protestant scholasticism; seventeenth-century English Puritanism



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