Delightful Conviction: Jonathan Edwards and the Rhetoric of Conversion

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In analyzing Jonathan Edwards preaching in eighteenth-century colonial America, the authors demonstrate how his rhetoric distinguished between conversion and persuasion. The authors delineate the basic tenets of Puritan theology, place Edwards' noted sermons within an historical framework, and show how his psycho-spiritual ideas have had lasting impact on American literary, religious, and intellectual history. This reference provides a critical analysis, speech texts, chronology, and bibliography. Students and teachers of rhetoric, American history, literature, philosophy, and religion will find this in-depth study of an enigmatic great American orator pertinent for various uses. The reference defines Edwards' doctrinal stance on key religious issues of the times, describes his methods of preaching and efforts to convert sinners into saints, and assesses his influence in the eighteenth century and later. The volume covers his life, his youth and education, his revival and role in the Great Awakening of religion in America, his church's rejection and his exile. This scholarly study relates his ideas to complex theological roots in European thought, to Christian and Enlightenment discourses, and it points to the enormous effect that he has had on thinking until the twentieth century. Texts of key sermons dealing with central concepts such as divine light, sinners, and true grace are provided.