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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.38 n.2 Pretoria  2012


Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758) and the Nature of Theology



Adriaan C. Neele

Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa




This article proposes that Jonathan Edwards' inquiry into the nature of theology continues the tradition of Protestant scholasticism, and appropriated medieval and early Protestant models of the systems of theology within the theological context of eighteenth-century New England. In fact, Edwards's use of post-Reformation reformed scholasticism was a mediating source of medieval theology of Franciscan and Scotist origin. E Brooks Holifield in Theology in America (2003) has the following to say:
Edwards drew the common distinction between the two kinds of theological knowledge, the first speculative ... and the second practical ... The aim of [Edwards's] theology was to nurture a "sense" of divine things that took one deeper into their nature than the speculative understanding alone could penetrate and to "guide" and influence us in our practice (Holifield 2003:102).



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1 Adriaan C Neele, Yale University Divinity School, Associate Editor and Director Jonathan Edwards Center, Professor Extraordinary and Research Associate, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa (UFS). E-mail:

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