Hawk's Nest

Friday, July 04, 2003

New Jonathan Edwards Bio Reviewed
(NY Times subscription required)je
''Jonathan Edwards: A Life,'' by George M. Marsden, a religious historian at the University of Notre Dame. Edwards was a nimble logician and a wonderful stylist. His words could thunder or soothe -- scolding savagely, needling wittily or inspiring piously. He kept abreast of secular thought and was a remarkably close observer of nature, especially of optical effects. He seemed so ''modern'' to Perry Miller, the great historian of Puritanism, that Miller's biography of the pastor, which would have astonished its subject, treated him more as a flexible Enlightenment thinker than as a rigid Calvinist. Miller managed somehow to spawn a whole generation of what Marsden calls ''atheists for Edwards.''
Edwards is one my historical heros, a man who was Christian thinker par excellence. This biography, written by very thoughtful present-day Christian scholar, sounds like a wonderful trip through the life of one of my "founding fathers".


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