The relationship of the thought of Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) to that of John Calvin and Reformed tradition has been frequently assumed and asserted but seldom detailed. Edwards, the “last American Puritan,” influential theologian of revival, and “Dordtian Philosophe,” worked within a generally Calvinist framework of divine sovereignty but also, within the context of the Enlightenment, experimented with that framework, pushing categories such as love, beauty, and personal affections to the epicenter of Christian life. His innovative conservatism is seen first in his espousal of idealism, as enunciated in aesthetics, the relationality of being, and occasionalism; secondly, in experientialism, involving a “new sense of the heart,” delineation of the signs of grace, typology, and prophecy; and thirdly, through historicism, including millennialism, anti-Catholicism, and an emphasis on revivals, integral to his view of the Work of Redemption through guiding concepts of the “happy fall,” cessationism, and covenantalism.
See for example William Breitenbach‘The Consistent Calvinism of the New Divinity Movement,’William and Mary Quarterly41 (1984) 241–264; Joseph A. Conforti Jonathan Edwards Religious Tradition and American Culture (Chapel Hill 1995); Allen C. Guelzo Edwards on the Will: A Century of American Theological Debate (Middletown Conn. 1989); Mark A. Noll America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (New York 2002); Douglas A. Sweeney Nathaniel William Taylor New Haven Theology and the Legacy of Jonathan Edwards (New York 2003).
William K.B. Stoever‘The Godly Will’s Discerning: Shepard, Edwards, and the Identification of True Godliness,’ in Jonathan Edwards’s Writingsed. Stein (see above n. 11) pp. 85–99; John E. Smith ‘The Perennial Jonathan Edwards’ in Edwards in Our Time: Jonathan Edwards and the Shaping of American Religion ed. Sang Hyun Lee and Allen C. Guelzo (Grand Rapids 1999) pp. 1–11.