Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jonathan Edwards' Northampton

Historic Northampton
Jonathan Edwards' Northampton
Reading and Cemetery Tour  October 3

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards is often caricatured as the stern Puritan who preached fire and brimstone sermons such as his notorious "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Yet Edwards was also America's preeminent genius of the 18th century. Besides being a moving force in the Great Awakening, Edwards was a relentless speculative scientist, an acute psychologist, a world famous theologian and philosopher.  Edwards first came to Northampton in 1726 to assist his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, in his ministry. When Stoddard died in 1729, the young, but brilliant, Jonathan Edwards took his place.

There has been great interest in Jonathan Edwards' Northampton in recent years.  While his home is no longer extant, the remaining historical buildings can give us a glimpse into Edwards' Puritan society.  The First Churches is located on the site of Jonathan Edwards' original meeting house.  The Manse, a private residence, was the early residence of Edwards' grandfather, Solomon Stoddard.  His grandfather and daughter, Jerusha Edwards, are buried in the Bridge Street Cemetery.  Visit Historic Northampton to learn more about Jonathan Edwards self-guided walking tours, merchandise and online research resources.

Historic Northampton is pleased to announce that novelist Susan Stinson will present two events in honor of Jonathan Edwards on Saturday, October 3.  The events are sponsored by the Forbes Library.  See below for more information.

Jonathan Edwards in Northampton: Reading and Cemetery Tour with novelist Susan Stinson

Northampton meeting houseSaturday, October 3, 2009
Walking Tour, Bridge Street Cemetery, 10 am
Reading, First Churches, 129 Main Street, 7 pm

Jonathan Edwards, widely considered to be America's most brilliant theologian, was minister at what is now First Churches in Northampton from 1727 to 1750.  The spiritual and intellectual richness of Edwards' inner world is matched by the dramatic events of his life, including the ambiguities in his role as a slave owner.

Susan Stinson is the award-winning author of three previous novels and a collection of poetry and lyric essays.  She has received awards and grants from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Deming Fund, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Millay Colony, and the Blue Mountain Center, among others.  She's been at work on Spider in a Tree, her novel about Jonathan Edwards, for seven years.  She lives in Northampton.

For the cemetery tour, go to the Parsons Street entrance of the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, and look for the red trike with the Jonathan Edwards tour sign.

Sponsored by Forbes Library

Featured Publication: Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love
by Ronald Story

Jonathan Edwards and The Gospel of Love
In one of the most recent contributions to Edwards studies, Ronald Story examines Edwards' legacy and how it has been constructed and reconstructed over the last two centuries. Story argues that an essential element of Edwards' thought and work has been filtered out by theologians and historians alike. The "real" Edwards, Story contends, must include not only his jeremiads and his Enlightenment reflections but also his neglected writings that suggest that love of beauty, harmony, and humanity as well as fear of God have a place in the firmament.

Purchase Online

Walking Tours and Informational Kiosks

Northampton Historic MarkersHistoric Northampton recently installed a series of seven historic markers linking selected sites from Florence Center to the Bridge Street Cemetery. Each marker provides a link in a chain of interpretation telling the story of Northampton's history. Containing colorful historical photographs and prints, these site markers tie history and place together. 

There are two of particular interest to the Jonathan Edwards enthusiast - the First Churches kiosk and a historic marker at The Manse, the early residence of Jonathan Edwards' grandfather.

Find more information on the Northampton Historic Markers

Historic Northampton also offers A Visitors' Guide to Paradise: Historical Walking Tours of Northampton, Massachusetts containing six walking tours, including Jonathan Edwards' Northampton.

Purchase A Visitors' Guide to Paradise

Online Research Resources

Historic Northampton Online ResearchHistoric Northampton Museum is now offering exclusive subscription access to its extensive online archives - a reference portal to one of the most unique historical collections in New England. 

Join Today!

Visit our Reference Shelf for additional resources related to Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards in Northampton: Reading and Cemetery Tour
Featured Publication: Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love
Walking Tours and Informational Kiosks
Online Research Resources

Visit Historic Northampton's Website!

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