Posted by: chuckbumgardner | August 18, 2018

Martin, Understanding Affections in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards

My friend Ryan Martin’s dissertation is finally gaining the broader exposure it deserves. Forthcoming in T&T Clark’s Studies in Systematic Theology series, this work highlights the distinction between the notion of the affections that played such a high role in Edwards’s theology, life, and ministry (on the one hand) and (on the other hand) the broader category of “emotions” that is often too quickly equated with the affections.

From the Amazon blurb:

This volume argues that the notion of “affections” discussed by Jonathan Edwards (and Christian theologians before him) means something very different from what contemporary English speakers now call “emotions.” and that Edwards’s notions of affections came almost entirely from traditional Christian theology in general and the Reformed tradition in particular.
Ryan J. Martin demonstrates that Christian theologians for centuries emphasized affection for God, associated affections with the will, and distinguished affections from passions; generally explaining affections and passions to be inclinations and aversions of the soul. This was Edwards’s own view, and he held it throughout his entire ministry. Martin further argues that Edwards’s view came not as a result of his reading of John Locke, or the pressures of the Great Awakening (as many Edwardsean scholars argue), but from his own biblical interpretation and theological education. By analysing patristic, medieval and post-medieval thought and the journey of Edwards’s psychology, Martin shows how, on their own terms, pre-modern Christians historically defined and described human psychology.

 

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