"THE SUPREME EXPRESSION OF EDWARDS' PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION": HANDSOME FIRST EDITION OF JONATHAN EDWARDS' FAMOUS TREATISE, 1746
EDWARDS, Jonathan. A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Boston: S. Kneeland and T. Green, 1746. Octavo, contemporary paneled brown sheep rebacked and recornered, raised bands. $6500.
First edition of this central work of "The Great Awakening" by one of America's most famous theological figures—"we can hardly understand Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Melville, unless we comprehend" the formative role of the revival and Edwards' pivotal influence (Perry Miller)—most desirable in contemporary paneled sheep boards.
Jonathan Edwards stands at the center of "The Great Awakening," the mid-18th century New England religious revival that also prompted "social cleavage and church divisions with partisan conflict between exponents of religion as violent emotion and those who regarded it as rectitude of conduct" (ANB). To many, however, these divisions "are of little importance before the terrific universality of the Revival. In fact the dominant theme in America… is the invincible persistence of the revival… We can hardly understand Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Melville, unless we comprehend this" monumental force (Miller, Life of the Mind, 7). In carrying "the idealism of early Calvinism into dialogue with the secularized intellectual currents of the 18th century," Edwards published "in 1746 what has been regarded by many historians as his most important work, the Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, an attempt to ground the graciousness of God's Elect in an integrative understanding of the soul's actions… [As] the supreme expression of his psychology of religion," this seminal work further marks his powerful influence over American thought. One of the 18th century's finest orators, Edwards continually engaged "with the best European ideas, innovatively synthesizing rationalism and piety in order to transmit the best of the Puritan vision of man's frailty and God's glory into a modern age that found it convenient to ignore both" (ANB). As the rear printed bookseller's note states, this work was much sought after, with nearly 1300 subscriptions received: more "sent in than Books Printed." With engraved ornamental initials, head- and tailpieces. As issued with mispagination of page 215 (as 115). With errata statement (344); bookseller's advertisement (352). Evans 5767. Sabin 21967. ESTC W29564. Contemporary owner inscriptions: "Joseph Fisks—27/0 Dom: 1747"; "Joseph Fisk's Book Dom 1764."
Text fresh with only lightest scattered foxing, trace of rubbing to boards. A handsome near—fine copy.