Poverty, Patriotism, and National Covenant: Jonathan Edwards and Public Life

Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):229 - 251 (2003)

In this essay I address three ways in which Edwards can inform Christian understanding of public life. First I show how Edwards provides both philosophical and theological rationales for social engagement and thereby resists the separation of religion from public life, and use his consideration of poverty as an illustration. Part II examines Edwards's dialectical treatment of patriotism, demonstrating both its importance to the Christian life and its susceptibility to deceptive accommodation to culture. Finally, in Part III I discuss Edwards's use of "national covenant," which despite its temptation to chauvinism Edwards used to undermine national pride. In the conclusion I assess what we can use from Edwards for contemporary Christian understandings of public life
Keywords poverty  public life  national covenant  Edwards  patriotism  Jonathan
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9795.00136
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