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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2007

Stephen J. Stein
Affiliation:
Indiana University, Bloomington
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Summary

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) is, indisputably, a significant figure in American history. He emerged on the religious landscape of New England in the opening half of the eighteenth century, but soon achieved an international reputation. Edwards's description of religious revivals and his defense of evangelical Protestantism vaulted him into the public arena at home and abroad. Though his life was cut short prematurely a few months after becoming the president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), his publications and his personal influence on a subsequent generation of religious leaders assured that his theological legacy would continue after his death.

The impact of Edwards's ideas expanded with the passage of time. In the eighteenth century, disciples and members of his extended family, including Samuel Hopkins, Jonathan Edwards, Jr., and Timothy Dwight, were instrumental in the articulation of an Edwardsean theology. The nineteenth century saw the consolidation and expansion of that tradition within evangelical Protestantism. The image of Edwards as a powerful preacher and a sophisticated apologist for traditional Christianity also attracted literary and cultural reflection by authors as diverse as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Those same years witnessed the publication of collected editions of Edwards's Works as well as the frequent republication of his individual titles, including, most notably, The Life of David Brainerd.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • Introduction
  • Stephen J. Stein, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards
  • Online publication: 28 November 2007
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521852900.001
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  • Introduction
  • Stephen J. Stein, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards
  • Online publication: 28 November 2007
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521852900.001
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Stephen J. Stein, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards
  • Online publication: 28 November 2007
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521852900.001
Available formats
×