Grandson of Jonathan Edwards, president of Yale University, writer, teacher, theologian, Timothy Dwight was a major figure in the Second Great Awakening of American Protestantism. He was dubbed by an admirer as 'the most conspicuous man in New England', but biographers have struggled to grasp his life. Though a voluminous writer, Dwight left relatively few personal records and his life has been seen, rather as the near-blind Dwight himself saw the world, only dimly, a figure of 'lights and shades'. At times, he appears an 'enlightened' figure, committed to moving American belles lettres and Yale College into the modern world, optimistic about America's prospects in the world; and a champion of missions work, revivals, and social reform. At other times, he seems backward-looking, even reactionary - celebrating the Puritan era, demonising religious innovation, fighting against the progressive forces of the radical Enlightenment.For John R. Fitzmier, the key to imagining Dwight's life as a whole is to be found in Dwight's religious system, 'Godly federalism', which unified what might otherwise appear a disparate set of views and activities.As background to understanding Dwight and his role in Revolutionary and early national America, Fitzmier begins with a biographical chapter, based wherever possible on manuscript sources and the observations of contemporaries, as well as textual evidence drawn from Dwight's writings.
The next three chapters treat Dwight as preacher, theologian, and historian, respectively. The last chapter shows how Dwight's three professional activities became constituents of a larger role - that of moralist. Understanding the ways in which his moralism shaped his vision leads to a fuller appreciation of the 'godly federalism' that Dwight created and promulgated from the moral high ground of the Yale presidency. Fitzmier's book presents at last an integrated portrait of Dwight. It is an illuminating biographical inquiry into the life of an important early American religious visionary. "Religion in North America" series - Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. Stein, editors.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 248 x 165 x 25 mm