Abolitionism as an Expression of Benevolence in Edwardsean Thought
Keywords:History, Religion, Philosophy
AbstractWhen comparing Jonathan Edwards’s transitional views on slavery and the slave trade to the New Divinity’s immediate abolitionism, one would think they have very little, if anything, in common. Moreover, how could these former students-turned-abolitionists exonerate the teachings of their slave-owning mentor? The New Divinity sought freedom for enslaved Africans by working from a foundational doctrine that connects Edwards to his abolitionist followers: the doctrine of disinterested benevolence. While all of Edwards’s students had this doctrine handed down to them, it impressed none of them as much as it did Samuel Hopkins.