Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

This book is the latest chapter in a lengthy personal effort to discover the real Jonathan Edwards. I first encountered Edwards as an undergraduate at the University of Texas in the late 1950s, where we read, or were at least exposed to, his sermon...

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1. Life

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pp. 1-6

Jonathan Edwards is by now the most illustrious resident in the history of the town of Northampton, no small achievement for a little community that has harbored Calvin Coolidge, Sylvia Plath, Sojourner Truth, Sylvester Graham, and George Bancroft...

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2. Personae

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pp. 7-26

“Jonathan Edwards divided men in his lifetime,” says biographer Iain Murray, “and to no less degree he continues to divide his biographers. . . . The nature of his greatness, the significance of his life and thought, an assessment of his character and writings...

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3. Tropes

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pp. 27-50

Intellectual, Calvinist, revivalist, and scold are identities suggestive of a stern and judgmental individual, which Jonathan Edwards clearly could be when duty demanded, as it so often did given all that was at stake. Words such as “intense,” “tactless...

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4. Charity

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pp. 51-74

To understand the centrality of charity in Edwards’s thought and ministry requires a few words more about Puritanism and “works,” of which charity was one of the most important. Puritans adhered to a doctrine of free unearned grace: God, omnipotent...

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5. Community

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pp. 75-97

Jonathan Edwards was a towering minister of the gospel of charity, but he was equally a towering minister of the gospel of community. The notion of togetherness—social peace, amiableness, unity, harmony, collective worship, conversation, friendship, neighborliness...

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6. Love

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pp. 98-121

Love pervades Jonathan Edwards’s ministry and writings, a point often overlooked given his lingering reputation as a preacher of damnation. In fact, Edwards, though understanding, as we have seen, that fear had its utility in the pulpit, was overwhelmingly a minister...

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Afterword

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pp. 122-134

The positioning of Edwards as pre-eminently a minister of a gospel of love represents a significant modification of his age-old reputation as a hellfire revivalist, a pessimistic prophet of eternal damnation...

Abbreviations

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pp. 135-136

Notes

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pp. 137-158

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 159-160

The inspiration and encouragement of Kerry Buckley, Herbert Richardson, and Peter Ives were crucial in the initial stages of this project, as I have indicated in the preface. Dr. Buckley also reviewed portions of the manuscript for possible errors and made valuable comments...

General Index

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pp. 161-164

Index of Edwards’s Writings

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pp. 165-166

About the Author, Back Cover

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pp. 167-170