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One Holy and Happy Society: The Public Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Overview

Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) was arguably this country's greatest theologian and its finest philosopher before the nineteenth century. His school if disciples (the "New Divinity") exerted enormous influence on the religious and political cultures of late colonial and early republican America. Hence any study of religion and politics in early America must take account of this theologian and his legacy.

Yet historians still regard Edward's social theory as either nonexistent or ...

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Overview

Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) was arguably this country's greatest theologian and its finest philosopher before the nineteenth century. His school if disciples (the "New Divinity") exerted enormous influence on the religious and political cultures of late colonial and early republican America. Hence any study of religion and politics in early America must take account of this theologian and his legacy.

Yet historians still regard Edward's social theory as either nonexistent or underdeveloped. Gerald McDermott demonstrates, to the contrary, that Edwards was very interested in the social and political affairs of his day, and commented upon them at length in his unpublished sermons and private notebooks. McDermott shows that Edwards thought deeply about New England's status under God, America's role in the millennium, the nature and usefulness of patriotism, the duties of a good magistrate, and what it means to be a good citizen. In fact, his sociopolitical theory was at least as fully developed as that of his better-known contemporaries and more progressive in its attitude toward citizens' rights.

Using unpublished manuscripts that have previously been largely ignored, McDermott also convincingly challenges generations of scholarly opinion about Edwards. The Edwards who emerges from this nook is both less provincial and more this-worldly than the persona he is commonly given.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271028958
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2006
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald R. McDermott is Professor of Religion at Roanoke College.

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Table of Contents

Preface
List of Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 God's Manner with a Covenant People: The National Covenant 11
2 That Glorious Work of God and the Beautiful Society: The Premillennial Age and the Millennium 37
3 Private Affection and Publick Spirit: The Edwardsean Social Ethic 93
4 The Importance and Functions of Strong Rods: Edwards on the Magistracy 117
5 The Priviledges and Duties of Subjects: A Theology of Citizenship 137
6 In Retrospect 177
Selected Bibliography 185
Index 199
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