Jonathan Edwards’s View of Sympathy as it Relates to His Socio-ethical Perspective

Ken Miyagi


This article will discuss how Edwards’s view of affection played a significant role in his social thought and actions by investigating Jonathan Edwards’s idea of sympathy. In doing so, it will employ the seventeenth-century Puritans’ socioreligious view of such feelings that is meticulously researched in Abram C. Van Engen’s, Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England (2015). Edwards’s thought of sympathy was expounded as a vital concept for building community cohesion in his sermons and treatises, such as Religious Affections and Nature of True Virtue. This article will explore such a notion in both Edwards’s affectional and philosophical terms, and then it will shed new light on his social ethics through demonstrating Edwards’s view of sympathy that was developed in a tangle of the Reformed Puritan tradition and the Enlightenment thoughts.


American Religious History

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