Thursday, December 13, 2012

Odds and Ends about Edwards, and the Beatrix Potter Movie

There were a variety of topics in my latest reading of George Marsden's Jonathan Edwards: A Life: Edwards' power struggles with the Williams at Stockbridge, as Edwards justified his stubbornness on religious grounds; the wars between the English in America, on the one hand, and the French and Native Americans, on the other hand, as Native Americans felt that the English were trying to displace them; how some regarded the wars as God's judgment on the English, whereas Edwards had a more optimistic outlook (even though he viewed setbacks as God's judgment, and was somewhat sensitive to the concerns of Native Americans); how Edwards' daughter Esther was a contemplative woman who did not care for talking about dresses and fashion with other women (ironically, I was reading this while watching the movie Miss Potter, which presented author Beatrix Potter as somewhat similar); and how Princeton wanted Edwards to be its President, but Edwards was reluctant because he didn't feel he had the social skills for that position, plus he wanted to focus on his writing projects.  But Edwards became its President.  It was good that Edwards was actually wanted somewhere, considering the times when he was intensely disliked (i.e., at Northampton).

There was a time when Edwards visited Philadelphia, and Marsden speculates that Edwards may have visited Benjamin Franklin at that time, though there is no evidence that such a meeting took place.  If it had, Marsden says, they could have talked about Edwards' works, which Franklin had read, as well as their mutual acquaintance with evangelist George Whitfield.

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