Jonathan Edwards and Biblical Literacy at Northampton

When Jonathan Edwards became lead pastor with the death of his grandfather Solomon Stoddard, he inherited a colonial church filled with parishioners immersed in the Puritan religion and the Bible from a young age. Edwards’s challenge when taking over at Northland was in preaching to an audience which was familiar with Scripture, but had become detached from affections for Christ and His Word. This paper will look at how those at Northampton had revolved their lives around and understood God’s Word through formation and foundation. The paper will begin with the importance placed on the Bible as a definitive authority in the confessions and catechisms that emerged from the Reformation to the Puritans. Next, the advancement of biblical literacy for the Puritans in Colonial America will be seen in the primary sources of the period. The paper will conclude with how Edwards viewed the Puritan biblicist culture at Northampton, the dangers of a superficial version of biblicism, and his desire for true scriptural affections.

4 thoughts on “Jonathan Edwards and Biblical Literacy at Northampton”

  1. Description vs argument
    A study of Edwards always has potential attraction. This proposal, however, promises more descriptive looks and observations than an intriguing thesis to defend, and little of the description seems to plow fresh ground.

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  2. Thesis? Evidence?
    Topic fits our session. The abstract does not rise to the level of being presentable at ETS: I don’t discern a thesis, and I also wonder what evidence he will put forth that takes us deep into how the church attenders at Northampton “revolved their lives around and understood God’s Word through formation and foundation.” His reasons do not promise to illuminate what JE’s congregants were thinking: the importance of catechisms and confessions for the Puritans, biblical literacy in colonial America, and JE’s understanding of the situation.

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