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A “Dordtian Philosophe”: Jonathan Edwards, Calvin, and Reformed Orthodoxy

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The relationship of the thought of Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) to that of John Calvin and Reformed tradition has been frequently assumed and asserted but seldom detailed. Edwards, the “last American Puritan,” influential theologian of revival, and “Dordtian Philosophe,” worked within a generally Calvinist framework of divine sovereignty but also, within the context of the Enlightenment, experimented with that framework, pushing categories such as love, beauty, and personal affections to the epicenter of Christian life. His innovative conservatism is seen first in his espousal of idealism, as enunciated in aesthetics, the relationality of being, and occasionalism; secondly, in experientialism, involving a “new sense of the heart,” delineation of the signs of grace, typology, and prophecy; and thirdly, through historicism, including millennialism, anti-Catholicism, and an emphasis on revivals, integral to his view of the Work of Redemption through guiding concepts of the “happy fall,” cessationism, and covenantalism.

Affiliations: 1: The Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University, New Haven, USA


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