Edwards, Jonathan

(1703-58)
   A congregational minister in colonial New England, Edwards was a leader in the Great Awakening and was important both as a philosopher and as a theologian. While his impact on theology has been great, sustained interest in his philosophical achievements only began in about the 1950s. Edwards's philosophical theology is dominated by a conception of the absolute sovereignty and aesthetic perfection of God. To this end Edwards defends a strong sense of divine determinism coupled with occasionalism. Like Malebranche, Edwards believes that any indeterminacy beyond God's immediate causal control impinges upon the divine majesty. In Freedom of the Will he argues that the libertarian conception of freedom leads to an absurd infinite regress of self-causation for each allegedly self-determined act. Further, he defends compatibilism by noting that the only plausible criteria for free actions are desire and absence of constraint. Edwards also (apparently independently) developed a version of idealism similar to that of Berkeley. Like Berkeley, he rejects Locke's distinction between primary and secondary qualities, arguing rather that all sensory input derives not from external objects, but rather as a direct communication of God's divine thoughts. Edwards so stressed dependence upon the divinity that he saw God as divinely creating everything anew each moment in the same way as the initial creation. Based on these beliefs Edwards developed novel treatments of a number of doctrines including original sin. Edwards also composed an important psychological and epistemological study in Religious Affections and a powerful discussion of divine Trinitarian aesthetics. At his untimely death he left behind 60,000 pages of written text.
   Further reading: Edwards, Jonathan 1970, 1971 and 1974; Helm and Crisp 2003; Lee 2005; Lesser 1981 and 1994; Marsden 2003; Smith, Stout and Minkema 1995; Stein 1996

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Edwards, Jonathan — born Oct. 5, 1703, East Windsor, Conn. died March 22, 1758, Princeton, N.J. American theologian. The 5th of 11 children in a strict Puritan home, he entered Yale College at age 13. In 1727 he was named a pastor at his grandfather s church in… …   Universalium

  • Edwards, Jonathan — (1703 1758)    American Congregational theologian and preacher    Jonathan Edwards was the greatest American theologian of his day. He is remembered for his theological writings and for his participation in and observations about the period of… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Edwards, Jonathan — (1703–58)    Theologian.    Edwards was educated at the University of Yale where he underwent a religious conversion. He was ordained to the Congregational ministry and in 1724 he became the pastor of the Congregational Church of Northampton,… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Edwards, Jonathan — (1703–1758) American philosopher and theologian. Born in Connecticut, Edwards was educated at Yale, and showed an early passion for philosophy and theology. His uncompromising Calvinism survived exposure to the works of Locke, and in metaphysics… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Edwards,Jonathan — Ed·wards (ĕdʹwərdz), Jonathan. 1703 1758. American theologian and philosopher whose original sermons and writings stimulated the Great Awakening, a period of renewed American interest in religion. * * * …   Universalium

  • Edwards, Jonathan — (5 oct. 1703, East Windsor, Conn.–22 mar. 1758, Princeton, N.J.). Teólogo estadounidense. El quinto de 11 hijos de un hogar estrictamente puritano (ver puritanismo), ingresó a la Universidad de Yale a los 13 años de edad. En 1727 fue nombrado… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • EDWARDS, JONATHAN —    a celebrated divine, born at E. Windsor, Connecticut; graduated at Yale; minister at Northampton, Mass.; missionary to Housatonnuck Indians; was elected to the Presidency of Princeton College; wrote an acute and original work, The Freedom of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • EDWARDS, Jonathan — (1703 1758)    a staunch CALVINIST and probably the greatest American philosopher of all time and an outstanding REVIVALIST PREACHER and theologian who played the key role in the GREAT AWAKENING, 1734 1735. His early writings covered various… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Edwards, Jonathan — (1702? 1758)    Theologian, s. of a minister, was b. at East Windsor, Connecticut, ed. at Yale Coll., and licensed as a preacher in 1722. The following year he was appointed as tutor at Yale, a position in which he showed exceptional capacity. In …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Edwards, Jonathan —    см. Эдвардс, Джонатан …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

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