Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Jonathan Edwards and Scotland conference

I'm in the middle of a run of conferences at the minute; I'll blog about each of them over the next couple of weeks. Spent the first part of last week in Glasgow at the Jonathan Edwards and Scotland conference [http://www.gla.ac.uk/events/jonathanedwardsandscotland/], jointly organised by the Jonathan Edwards at Yale and Glasgow University as part of the Scotland Homecoming Year celebrations. Met some great people and heard some really useful papers. I gave a paper on Edwards' influence in Wales, particularly among the Calvinistic Methodists in the eighteenth century, paying particular attention to his influence on Howel Harris and William Williams, Pantycelyn. Seemed to be well received, although I think it will need quite a bit of further research if I decide to write it up into a more substantial article. Having said that, I may just include parts of it in the book I’m currently writing about Calvinistic Methodism in England and Wales in the long eighteenth century.
The highlight of the conference for me was David Bebbington's paper on different kinds of religious revivals. David came up with a taxonomy which classified evangelical religious revivals into five different kinds or varieties. I'm sure this will be widely used by historians once it appears in print; it certainly has the potential to be as useful as the well-known Bebbington quadrilateral definition of Evangelicalism! Other highlights included Michael McClenahan's paper on John Tillotson's role as a key champion of Arminianism in England and America and Caleb Maskel's paper on the way in which Edwards' writings have been used by exponents of the Toronto Blessing and other contemporary revivals! I was less keen on some of the papers dealing with Edwards' philosophical ideas, but that’s more down to my ignorance I guess!

1 comment:

Nigel T Faithfull said...

Interesting stuff. It must be difficult to comment on curent church/theological movements. By definition they are continually changing. We are all inevitably, as historical beings, part of wider movements and/or more local and parochial shifts in interpretation of how we are encouraged to express our Christian faith. I guess we must ensure our feet are solidly planted on the Rock which does not move, as we work out our faith with fear and trembling as those who must one day render an account.