The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Nasty Offender

I suspect that turning Edwards loose like that on modern evangelicals would grate on their modern sensibilities, too. But Americans, fearful and resentful of being thought provincial, have always been hungry for intellectual champions to put on a par with Europe. The same spirit that moved Benjamin Franklin to appropriate Bishop Berkeley's promise that "the Arts delight to travel Westward," and drove Thomas Jefferson to denounce the Comte de Buffon's sniggering mockery of America, drives us today to locate a legitimate 18th-century philosophical virtuoso in America, and Edwards has long seemed the most obvious candidate. But to place Edwards on that pedestal requires that we seal his contentious Calvinistic mouth. We need his genius, but we cannot accept it. And he would not be in the slightest degree surprised.

--from a review of Jonathan Edwards: America's Evangelical by Philip F. Gura