Global Jonathan Edwards Congress 2023

04 - 06 July 2023


Global Jonathan Edwards Congress 2023

Rationality and Spirituality: Retrieving Jonathan Edwards for Understanding Religion and Spirituality in Human Experience Today

The Global Jonathan Edwards Congress seeks to create academic space for a multidisciplinary discussion that retrieves and leverages the robust nature of Edwards’s insights into a religious experience that is both rational and spiritual for the benefit of the humanities, church, and society.

The Revival of Interest in Spirituality

Since spirituality reflects underlying beliefs about human existence and experience, there is a need for global theological reflection on the nexus between spirituality and rationality. Post-Enlightenment thought bears a specious character and prejudice against Christian spirituality. Even Christians are overly self-conscious of this burden, even “disenchanted” with medieval and early modern Christian spirituality. But with postmodernity has come a renewed interest in spirituality. Some of the finest and most penetrating analysis of the rational and spiritual nature of religious experience is found in the writings of Jonathan Edwards, “America’s Augustine.” See Strobel, Neele, and Minkema, Jonathan Edwards: Spiritual Writings, The Classics of Western Spirituality (Paulist Press, 2019).

Faith Seeking Understanding

Worldwide there are chairs for the study of spirituality in relation to healthcare, ethics, diversity, ecology and economics. This congress focuses on how Edwards’s appropriation of the classical Christian tradition of “faith seeking understanding” can be fruitful in dialogue with other academic disciplines and cultural trends in the current postmodern context. In ‘Reason and the Heart’, William J. Wainwright retrieves Edwards’s insight into the human need for transcendent grace in order to have a well-disposed heart and sanctified reason to see the beauty and force of true religion. Edwards’s holistic understanding of a rational and spiritual worldview offers resources for transcending current perspectives and integrating modern and postmodern approaches to our theme .

This 3-day conference will take place from  Tuesday, July 4 through Thursday, July 6, 2023 at ETF Leuven. The congress is organized by the Jonathan Edwards Center Benelux at ETF Leuven in cooperation with VU University Amsterdam, affiliated with the Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University.

For more information and registration visit the congress website


  • Andreas J. Beck (ETF Leuven, BE)
  • Wim van Vlastuin (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL)
  • Michael McClymond (Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO, US)
  • Kenneth P. Minkema (Yale University, New Haven, CT, US)
  • Amy Plantinga Pauw (Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, KY, US)
  • Jan Stievermann (Heidelberg University, DE)
  • Douglas A. Sweeney (Samford University, US)
  • Lisanne D’Andrea-Winslow (University of Northwestern, St. Paul, MN, US)
Open Days

Open Days

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