Cover image for Original sin.
Title:
Original sin.
Author:
Edwards, Jonathan, 1703-1758.
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University, 1970.
Physical Description:
xi, 448 pages ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Subject Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780300011982
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The controversy over human deprivation which raged throughout the eighteenth century was no mere intramural squabble among theologians but an important phase of the evolution in Western man's estimate of his nature and potentialities. By the time Jonathan Edwards entered the lists to champion the hated doctrine of original sin, he saw himself as not only defending a particular dogma but also combating an increasingly dominant drift of opinion which had already engulfed much of Europe and was encroaching dangerously upon America.
John Taylor's treatise was perhaps the boldest and most impressive assault on the doctrine which more than any other contradicted the Enlightenment view of man, and it haunted Edwards throughout all the pressing duties and personal hardships of the years just before and during his sojourn at Stockbridge. Ultimately, he was able to develop a thorough rebuttal of Taylor which focused on three major issues: the fact and nature of original sin, its cause and transmission, and God's responsibility for man's sinfulness.
First published in 1758, The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended went though at least 13 separate editions and was included in all collected editions of Edwards' works. The text of the first edition has now been brought into accord with the principles of the Yale Edition, making full use of all relevant manuscript materials. Mr. Holbrook's comprehensive Introduction and annotations provide detailed information about the sources, development, and reception of the work.
Clyde A. Holbrook is William H. Danforth Professor of Religion at Oberlin College.


Author Notes

In 1716 Edwards was admitted to Yale at the remarkable age of thirteen. After he graduated in 1722, he spent four years there pursuing theological interests, teaching, and completing his master's degree. In 1727 ,Edwards complied with his grandfather's request and traveled to Northhampton, Massachusetts to be his assistant in his church.

A committed scholar of John Calvin and the early Puritan theologians, as well as of the writings of John Locke and Isaac Newton, Edwards pursued a theology founded on two seemingly contradictory themes---a desire to return to the Calvinist tradition, as well as a desire to include the insights of contemporary Enlightenment philosophy. While Edwards's theological formulations were not completely developed until the 1750s, his lifetime pursuit of these ideas profoundly influenced the Puritan period of religious revival known as the Great Awakening. Though Edwards's provocative theology and sermons occasionally invoked fire and brimstone, as in the famous Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741), his sermons generally moved parishioners to faith through the employment of positive imagery, as in God Glorified in Man's Dependence (1731).

In spite of his successes during the Great Awakening, Edwards was ultimately involved in a controversy that led to his dismissal at the Northhampton parish in 1750. Viewed as too progressive by a faction of the church known as the Old Lights, Edwards stepped down after delivering his famous Farewell Sermon (1750), in which he declared that God would ultimately determine whether Edwards had been right or wrong

(Bowker Author Biography)