Jonathan Edwards: Theologian of the Heart

Overview

The vast corpus of Jonathan Edwards includes sermons, treatises, dissertations, "Miscellanies," "Diary" and "Resolves," and his "Personal Narrative." Underlying all his writing is his Calvinist God whose anger (justice) matched his love (glory). Equally important is the human condition, its darkness and its "regenerative" light, sin and salvation. For these reasons Simonson aptly calls Edwards a "theologian of the heart," one not satisfied with only theological abstractions but also a necessary, heartfelt "sense"...

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Overview

The vast corpus of Jonathan Edwards includes sermons, treatises, dissertations, "Miscellanies," "Diary" and "Resolves," and his "Personal Narrative." Underlying all his writing is his Calvinist God whose anger (justice) matched his love (glory). Equally important is the human condition, its darkness and its "regenerative" light, sin and salvation. For these reasons Simonson aptly calls Edwards a "theologian of the heart," one not satisfied with only theological abstractions but also a necessary, heartfelt "sense" of them. Penetrating to these levels where literary artists do their work, he shares company with the likes of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson and William Faulkner. Since the resurgence of interest starting in the 1950s, Edwards is now recognized as America's foremost religious thinker. Simonson emphasizes Edwards' language—its imagery, metaphors, grand sweeps of cadences, along with Edwards' intensity of both thought and feeling. Throughout, Simonson's book provides an incisive and carefully documented introduction to Edwards' magisterial range of mind and style.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Harold P. Simonson is Professor Emeritus of English, University of Washington, and is the author of The Closed Frontier: Studies in American Literary Tragedy; Prairies Within: The Tragic Trilogy of Ole Rölvaag; and Radical Discontinuities: American Romanticism and Christian Consciousness. He holds a PhD from Northwestern University and a BPhil in Divinity from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

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Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introduction 11

1 Edwards's Record of Conversion 17

1 The Awakened Heart 17

2 Locke and Empiricism 23

2 Edwards and the Great Awakening 33

1 Loomings 33

2 Justification by Faith Alone 41

3 The Effulgent Connecticut Valley 44

4 Triumph and Tragedy 56

3 Imagination and Vision 69

1 Imagination and Epistemology 69

2 Natural Imagination 72

3 Sanctified Imagination 76

4 Vision 83

4 Religious Language 91

1 Opening Problems 91

2 Locke's Challenge 95

3 Limitations of Language 100

4 Language as "Occasional" Cause 107

5 The Sermon 111

5 Sin 115

1 Pulpit Language 115

2 Edwards's Concept of Sin 118

3 Hell as Vision and Image 125

4 "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," 130

6 Salvation 139

1 Prelude 139

2 Grace and Personal Salvation 140

3 Nature and History 146

4 The Glory of God 153

Conclusion 155

Notes 157

Index of Names 171

Index of Edwards's Works 173

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