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The Theology of Jonathan Edwards$
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Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199791606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791606.001.0001

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The Affections and the Human Person

The Affections and the Human Person

(p.311) 20 The Affections and the Human Person
The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Michael J. McClymond

Gerald R. McDermott

Oxford University Press

Edwards's lifelong obsession with the nature of true religion invariably involved what he called the “affections,” which he defined as the strong inclinations that determine nearly everything that a person feels, thinks, and does. Many scholars have wrongly assumed that for Edwards affections were the same as emotions. But he rejected the threefold distinction of mind, will, and emotions, and declared that the will and affections are not two faculties but different expressions of the inclination that already has intellectual judgment contained within it. Furthermore, he insisted that godly affections are all rooted in the basic affection of love. Edwards was ambivalent on the role of the imagination in religious experience, but was surprisingly open to biological and psychological factors in the operation of the affections.

Keywords:   affections, mind, will, emotions, faculty psychology, imagination, person

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