216 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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Among his many accomplishments, Jonathan Edwards was an effective mentor who trained many leaders for the church in colonial America, but his pastoral work is often overlooked. Rhys S. Bezzant investigates the background, method, theological rationale, and legacy of his mentoring ministry. Edwards did what mentors normally do-he met with individuals to discuss ideas and grow in skills. But Bezzant shows that Edwards undertook these activities in a distinctly modern or affective key. His correspondence is written in an informal style; his understanding of friendship and conversation takes up the conventions of the great metropolitan cities of Europe. His pedagogical commitments are surprisingly progressive and his aspirations for those he mentored are bold and subversive. When he explains his mentoring practice theologically, he expounds the theme of seeing God face to face, summarized in the concept of the beatific vision, which recognizes that human beings learn through the example of friends as well as through the exposition of propositions. In this book the practice of mentoring is presented as an exchange between authority and agency, in which the more experienced person empowers the other, whose own character and competencies are thus nurtured. More broadly, the book is a case study in cultural engagement, for Edwards deliberately takes up certain features of the modern world in his mentoring and yet resists other pressures that the Enlightenment generated. If his world witnessed the philosophical evacuation of God from the created order, then Edwards's mentoring is designed to draw God back into an intimate connection with human experience.


Singly, Particularly, and Closely: An Introduction
Chapter I The Traditioned Self: Edwards's Place in the History of Mentoring
1. The Value of Virtue in Premodern Practice
2. The Desire for Discipline in the Modern World
3. The Power of Models in Puritan Practice
4. The Early Experience of Jonathan Edwards
Chapter II The Affective Turn: Edwards as Culturally Modern Mentor
1. Authority: A Modern Challenge to Ministry Assumptions
2. Friendship: The Dynamic Context of Edwards's Mentoring
3. Conversation: Social Means to Sanctified Ends
4. Pedagogy: Edwards's Inductive Educational Approach
5. Correspondence: Edwards's Familiar Discourse
6. Leadership: Promotion of Heroic Spirituality in Sermons
Chapter III The Mimetic Way: Edwards's Mentoring as a Guide to Glory
1. The Image of God: The Possibility of Connection in Creation
2. The Power of Imitation: A Christological Strategy for Growth
3. The Beatific Vision: The Ends Shapes the Means
4. The Integrative Reflex: Strategy of Resistance and Renewal
Chapter IV The Revolutionary Lens: The Edwardsean Mentoring Legacy
1. Edwards's Mentoring Legacy Defined
2. Edwards's Mentoring Legacy Radicalized
3. Edwards's Mentoring Legacy Institutionalized
4. Edwards's Mentoring Legacy Defended
Face to Face Flourishing: Faith in the Age of Facebook

About the author: 

Rhys S. Bezzant has served as an ordained priest in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, and presently teaches Church History at Ridley College, where he directs the Jonathan Edwards Center Australia. He is also a Canon at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. He is the author of Jonathan Edwards and the Church (OUP 2013).

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