Jonathan Edwards on Spirituality

25 February 2016

Jonathan Edwards on Spirituality

This is one of three inspiring courses offered in ETF’s Summer Colloquium, scheduled August 22 – 27, 2016. This international study week includes lectures, various workshops and times for meeting and reflection.

Registration is open until 1 June 2016.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) is rightly called one of the most influential theologians of his time and beyond.

In this course we will explore Edwards’ understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit, spiritual awakenings and renewal, spiritual discernment and fruits of the Spirit. Trajectories and texts of intellectual history will be considered related to Edwards’ articulation of spirituality together with his treatises such as Religious Affections. This treatise is Edwards’ most penetrating interpretation of the awakenings of his time, not to mention one of the most penetrating of any time. In this work he lays out his religious psychology of affections, which encompasses both understanding and will and involves the total range of human faculties. Answering critics of the revival, Edwards discusses at length a series of “negative” signs, or unreliable criteria for judging the graciousness of affections. Finally, and most famously, he provides twelve “positive” signs for self-examination. The twelfth sign, which Edwards gives the fullest treatment, is the importance of Christian practice as evidence of the state of the heart. Here, for Edwards, is the ultimate standard for visible sainthood. Furthermore, we will examine sermons such as, A History of the Work of Redemption, Distinguishing Marks of a Work of a Spirit of God and Charity and Its Fruits, and other writings.

In addition, the course will pay attention to the “Great Awakening” of the eighteenth century marking the inauguration of the revival tradition in America. The sources feeding the awakenings and the manifestations of the movement reached far beyond America’s eastern shore, and places the Great Awakening in (an international) context. Finally, we will pay attention to the primary source texts by Edwards and other figures involved in the eighteenth-century spiritual revivals.

Prof. Dr. Adriaan C. Neele serves as Research Scholar, and Digital Editor at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, and as Professor Historical Theology and Director at the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa of the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

ETF’s Summer Colloquium in August 2016 features three inspiring courses which intersect theology, church and society. The two other courses are:

This international study week includes lectures, various workshops and times for meeting and reflection. Our Summer Colloquium is compulsory for ETF Open University students open to interested people with academic qualifications and can serve as additional in-service training for pastors, teachers, and other ministry professionals.

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