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American TerrorThe Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville$
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Paul Hurh

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791144

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791144.001.0001

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Awakening Terror

Awakening Terror

Hellfire Preaching, Jonathan Edwards, and the Logic of Revivalist Affect

(p.31) 1 Awakening Terror
American Terror

Paul hurh

Stanford University Press

The first chapter argues, against current received understandings, that Jonathan Edwards’s terror was materially innovative and different, and that the matter of its difference derives from Edwards’s unique philosophical interests and leads to his influential theorization of affect as a mode of knowledge. Through a comparison of terror sermons across the late 17th and early 18th centuries, this chapter discovers that the significance of terror in New England turns from a cautionary and practical rhetoric to, in later generations, an immanent and ideal rhetoric. The chapter shows how Edwards’s defense of terror preaching during the Great Awakening culminates in a wholesale revolution in affective philosophy that derives from his studies in formal logic and Enlightenment idealism, and is pinned to a radical redefinition of the epistemological significance of terror.

Keywords:   Jonathan Edwards, hellfire and brimstone sermons, Great Awakening, revival preaching, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, Charles Chauncy, Port-Royal Logic, idealism, logic

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