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George M. Marsden

Författare till Jonathan Edwards: A Life

28+ verk 4,679 medlemmar 33 recensioner 7 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

George M. Marsden is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. His books include Fundamentalism and American Culture, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship.
Foto taget av: Jonathan Edwards Center


Verk av George M. Marsden

Jonathan Edwards: A Life (2003) 1,359 exemplar, 6 recensioner
Fundamentalism and American Culture (1982) 949 exemplar, 6 recensioner
Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (1991) 460 exemplar, 1 recension
A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards (2008) 355 exemplar, 9 recensioner
The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (1997) 304 exemplar, 1 recension
Religion and American Culture (1990) 188 exemplar, 1 recension
Evangelicals: Who They Have Been, Are Now, and Could Be (2019) — Redaktör — 50 exemplar
A Christian view of history? (1975) 48 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Search for Christian America (1983) — Författare, vissa utgåvor245 exemplar, 1 recension
The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards (2006) — Bidragsgivare — 71 exemplar
Evangelicals and Science in Historical Perspective (1999) — Bidragsgivare — 26 exemplar
The Primitive Church in the Modern World (1995) — Bidragsgivare — 23 exemplar
Christian Higher Education: A Global Reconnaissance (2014) — Bidragsgivare — 15 exemplar, 1 recension
BYU Studies Vol. 59 No. 2, 2020 (2020) — Bidragsgivare — 3 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



This is a truly excellent introduction to the life of Jonathan Edwards. Marsden has written a fuller treatment of the topic, Jonathan Edwards: A Life. Have read this book, I am thoroughly convinced that I need to read the larger work.
jfranzone | 8 andra recensioner | Feb 14, 2024 |
Summary: A brief introduction to the life and thought of Jonathan Edwards, setting him alongside two of his contemporaries, Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield.

George Marsden is one of the outstanding scholars we have in the area of American religious history, His biography of Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, won the Bancroft Prize in 2004, a prize recognizing outstanding works of American history and diplomacy. This work, much briefer, introduces us to some key ideas of Edwards, setting him alongside two contemporaries, Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield. The chapters began as the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2008 and have been developed in subsequent presentations.

What Marsden hopes to do here, as he explains in his first lecture, is to translate Edwards, who spoke and wrote for his time, for us, at least a few of his profound ideas about the beauty of God who is light and love, and about how we might recognize rightly ordered love of God in the life of one who claims to be in Christ. He then offers a short biography of Edwards focusing on his pastoral ministry and oversight of revivals, his role as an apologist for the “New Light” movement and his publication of the Religious Affections.. He briefly covers his alienation from his congregation in Northampton over who may participate in communion, his ministry with Native peoples in Stockbridge, and his presidency at Princeton and connections to the Burr family.

The second lecture considers Benjamin Franklin and how his ideas cleared the way for the modern/post-modern immanent framing of life, focused on a material universe, human initiative and activity, the autonomous individual. While Franklin and Edwards were acquainted they were worlds apart. Franklin held to vaguely theistic beliefs and believed religion played an important role in motivating the moral life necessary for the democratic ordering of society. Yet his vision of the self made person anticipated Charles Taylor’s “buffered self.”

I thought the third chapter was worth the price of admission in elucidating Edwards ideas of the “new light” of God’s beauty Edwards apprehended in his conversion. In contrast to Franklin’s materialist outlook, Edwards saw “that the universe is most essentially an ongoing expression of a loving God [that] offered a dramatically radical alternative to the emerging perspective on the universe shared by Franklin and others in the era following the work of Isaac Newton” (p. 48). Far from a distant deity, Edwards saw all of this as a personal expression of the Triune God. Edwards was enthralled with the beauty of this love both in creation and the sacrificial work of Christ. He further saw the beauty of God’s love and joy in creation and salvation as a “fountain of light” illumining and transforming the life of one who believes, leading to a life of love ordered by the One whose loving light has shown into the believer’s life.

In Chapter Four, Marsden considers Edwards’ other contemporary, George Whitefield. Edwards welcomed and defended Whitefield’s preaching in New England, hoping that he would stir the revival fires that had died down. While Edwards defended New Light ideas within an establishment shaped by the Reformers, Whitefield innovated both in message and methods of promotion that anticipated modern evangelicalism, anticipating the Wesleyan movement and those which followed. His conversionist message would be recognizable to evangelicals today, and its core paved the way for movements with far less stress on education than that which Edwards and Whitefield shared. It also paved the way for the diversity of churches dotting the American landscape.

The concluding chapter considers the Religious Affections or as Marsden translates the term, the rightly order loves that distinguish those who are truly regenerate from the falsity of those who are not. Such love begins with the indwelling Holy Spirit who makes real God’s love in the believer. This results in love centered on the loving God rather than the self. Such love is drawn to the moral beauty of God. This is more than rational knowledge of the love and beauty of God; it is a heart enthralled by that love and beauty. Yet rightly ordered love also involves right understanding shaped by the scriptures. Such love is humble. It is lamb-like, not proud, arrogant, or self-asserting. It is tender of spirit. The true believer’s life will be one of symmetry and proportion, reflecting an eigthteenth century idea of beauty. Rather than fading, the appetite for the beloved grows, and finally eventuates in a life of actively growing in grace. Against the shallow spirituality and cults of personality in the present day church, Marsden sees the vision of the “infinite fountain of light and love” and the “rightly ordered loves” of Edwards offering profound insight for the growth of believers in Christ.

Marsden appends to this material an edited version of Edwards’ sermon “A Divine and Supernatural Light” from 1733, in which we can see how Edwards develops the ideas Marsden has discussed. If only this were the preferred sermon rather than “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” as representative of Edwards.

This is a delightful little book that both introduces the reader to some important strands of Edwards’ thought, worthy of translation into our contemporary context, and considers the shaping influence of his contemporaries Franklin and Whitefield on both secular belief and evangelical practice. This left me reflecting why the latter have had far greater influence, it seems, than Edwards, when he is often deemed America’s foremost theologian. Perhaps it is this matter of translation. We seem to be better at translating Edwards flaws, whether they be the “Sinners” sermon or his slave holding, than his striking insights into the nature of God and how this bears on true spirituality. Perhaps this book and the renaissance of Edwards studies will help redress this balance, if we keep the necessity of translating well, as Marsden has done, in mind.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher.
… (mer)
BobonBooks | Jul 25, 2023 |
I remember – from my Bradley-Beatty-Long Anthology of American Literature that we used in high school in the late 60s, before Norton came up with their own anthology of American literature – reading what I recall as the very weird sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" as one of our examples of very early American literature. (This was in an era that had not yet started exalting the diversity of American literature to include Native Americans and women from its earliest inception.)

George Marsden very successfully shows that Edwards was much more than a "hell-and-damnation" sermonizer. While still adhering to Calvinistic predestination as well as to eternal damnation for some, Edwards envisaged a much broader contingent of the "saved" that would result from evangelical "awakenings" as well as missionary work to the not-yet-Christianized, Edwards himself showing definite personal interest in missionary work to the Indians of New England.

Edwards is arguably the greatest American theologian prior to the Civil War (though Edwards, living from 1704 to 1758, regarded himself as "British" and the inhabitant of a British province in North America). As an evangelical Calvinist, he emphasized an Augustinian "affection" of the emotions rather than Thomistic rationalism, but he also insisted that emotions alone did not suffice and that they needed to be kept under reasoned restraint.

And his An Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions of the Freedom of the Will which is Supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame (more simply, Freedom of the Will), is certainly one of the most significant works of American philosophy prior to the Civil War.

I have the Library of American anthology of Edwards: Writings from the Great Awakening and plan to get on to it, but unfortunately it doesn't include Freedom of the Will and I think emphasizes Edwards's evangelical "awakening" works rather than the broad scope of his Calvinistic theology.

Although the LoA edition seems to have some limitations, I'll be aware of these having had the benefit of Marsden's biography.
… (mer)
CurrerBell | 5 andra recensioner | Sep 19, 2021 |
We listened to the audiobook during recent road trips. This isn't an abridgment of Marsden's magisterial Life of Edwards (which I read for a Yale seminar some 7 years ago), but a revision of that work for a popular audience, well done in its own right. A surprisingly entertaining listen.
LudieGrace | 8 andra recensioner | Aug 10, 2020 |



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