Chapter

The Question of Development: Did Edwards Change?

Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott

in The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791606
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791606.003.0005
The Question of Development: Did Edwards Change?

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Contrary to Perry Miller's claim that Edwards's thinking did not change over the course of his life, this chapter identifies five “turns” in his thought that were prompted by his social milieu: an Experiential-Empirical Turn, an ethical-rigorist turn, an ecclesial-sacramental turn, a Calvinistic-controversial turn, and a cultural-historical turn. Although foundational concepts such as beauty, being, consent, and holiness are consistently emphasized from his adolescence to his death, each turn reflects a particular concern for a changing context. As such, Edwards is best characterized as an “open thinker,” never seeking to create a system of timeless truths.

Keywords: Perry Miller; culture; history; Calvinism; ethics; experience; sacraments; ecclesiology

Chapter.  5291 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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