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Understanding Jonathan EdwardsAn Introduction to America's Theologian$
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Gerald R. McDermott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373431

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373431.001.0001

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Edwards and the World Religions

Edwards and the World Religions

Chapter:
(p.177) 15 Edwards and the World Religions
Source:
Understanding Jonathan Edwards
Author(s):

Gerald R. McDermott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373431.003.0016

This chapter explores here the widely-held assumption that Edwards had little or no interest in religions beyond Judaism and Christianity, and certainly no knowledge of the great traditions beyond Palestine. But from the very beginning of his career Edwards showed interest in other religions, and he seemed to become more and more intrigued the older he got. Throughout his career he scoured both New and old England for any information he could get about the “heathen,” and by his last decade he was adding into his private notebooks hundreds of pages on the relationship between Christ and the gods. The chapter suggests one major stimulus to Edwards’s fascination with the religions (deism), and then outlines three approaches he took to them. One goes back to Adam and the sons of Noah(the prisca theologia); one is based on Edwards’s conviction that God speaks through all of nature and history (typology); and the third stems from his thinking about whether non-Christians can be saved (his dispositional soteriology).

Keywords:   world religions, prisca theologia, typology, disposition, soteriology

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