Andrew Hoffecker stresses the fundamental significanceof Charles Hodge's lifelong adherence to his pietist-confessional upbringing, a determination reinforced byhis formative time in Europe as a young man. TreatingHodge's life thematically, as the author does, draws outthe many-sidedness of his career - as Christian believer,educator, theologian, churchman, evangelical statesman, and controversialist. Those who may associate Hodge onlywith his Systematic Theology (great work though that is)are in for a surprise!
Charles Hodge, perhaps the most significant nineteenth-century American theologian, drove the growth of theological education and Presbyterianisms lasting influence in public life. Learn the life, theology, and influence of this central Reformed figure.
W. Andrew Hoffecker (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; PhD, Brown University) is Emeritus Professor of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson.
"While several prominent evangelists led by Charles Finney and a handful of princes of the pulpit, most notably Henry Ward Beecher and Phillips Brooks, had a tremendous influence on the nineteenth-century American religious scene, arguably the impact of Princeton Seminary professor Charles Hodge surpassed them all. In his masterful biography of Hodge, Andrew Hoffecker describes the theologians many contributions: his educating of 2,500 Presbyterian ministers, editing one of the nations religious journals for more than half a century, writing a three-volume systematic theology, and engaging in debates over the direction of the Presbyterian Church, Darwinism, and serving as the leading voice of Reformed theology. Hoffecker clearly shows how Hodge combined a powerful intellectual defense of Reformed orthodoxy with evangelical piety. He carefully situates Hodge in the changing religious and theological world of nineteenth-century American and Europe. Hoffecker makes Hodge come alive as a person, controversialist, apologist, and professor. Hodge led Princeton Seminary in training pastors to be rigorous scholars, careful exegetes, solid preachers and teachers, and spiritual guides."
"Professor Hoffecker stresses the fundamental significance of Charles Hodges lifelong adherence to his pietist-confessional upbringing, a determination reinforced by his formative time in Europe as a young man. Treating Hodges life thematically, as the author does, draws out the many-sidedness of his career as Christian believer, educator, theologian, churchman, evangelical statesman, and controversialist. Those who may associate Hodge only with his Systematic Theology (great work though that is) are in for a surprise! "Written clearly and accessibly, and thoughtfully and reflectively, and full of interesting detail, this biographical study adds momentum to the flow of recent serious writing on Princeton theology and its theologians."
Charles Hodges's magisterial systematic theology has rightfully earned its place on bookshelves for the last two centuries. Thanks to the skillful work of Professor Andrew Hoffecker you can now get to know the man behind the book. Here you?ll find Hodge waxing anxious over his Greek as a college student and you?ll see him standing valiantly for truth in times of conflict. Ultimately, you?ll see a theologian in the service of the church. Professor Hoffecker has already set the record straight on the Princetonian constellation; now he helps us fully appreciate the legacy of its North Star.
A many-sided theologian demands a many-sided biography, which is exactly what Andrew Hoffecker has provided in this careful, balanced, discerning, and insightful book. Although the volume offers an unusually full treatment of the unusually full life of Charles Hodge, who is universally recognized as one of the leading American theologians of the nineteenth century, Hoffecker also has an argument to make. The argument is that in his long career as the mainstay of Princeton Theological Seminary, Hodge successfully combined a strong commitment to confessional Reformed theology and a winsome practice of humble evangelical piety. . . . Hoffeckers life of Hodge demonstrates much more conclusively that any fair reading of Hodge must recognize at least three things: a full and well-rounded life of steadfast Christian devotion, a more-than-capable advocacy of classical Calvinist doctrines such as universal original sin and the substitutionary atonement, and a set of intellectual instincts commonplace among Americans in the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century.
"There has been a happy little renaissance of attention to Charles Hodge of late (e.g. Charles Hodge Revisited and Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy) as we mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Princeton Seminary, and now Andy Hoffecker has made an essential entry in the current discussion with Charles Hodge New Side-Old School Presbyterian. Hoffecker is uniquely qualified and widely respected as a scholar of Hodge and the Princetonians. His presentation of Hodge as combining in his life and ministry both the warm-hearted piety of the New Side and the sturdy confessionalism of the Old School is not only historically accurate but deeply relevant to the needs of our own time. But Hoffecker also captures Hodges fairness to the Old Side, the development of his own views, his instincts as a churchman, his participation in polemics, his engagement with the broader church and dozens of other aspects necessary to a real appreciation and assessment of Hodge as a theologian and doctor of the church. This is now the first book to read for an introduction to Charles Hodge."
"Years ago I read Andrew Hoffeckers Piety and the Princeton Theologians, a very moving account of the vital spirituality among the founders of the Princeton Theological Seminary. That point needs to be renewed in our own day, when some writers are suggesting that it is un-reformed to find anything good in revival or in pietism. Who better to meet that need the Hoffecker himself, who has now returned with a full-scale biography of Charles Hodge, the great systematic theologian of Princeton. Hoffecker teaches us that Hodges theology is rooted in the confessional traditions of the reformed faith, but also in the new side Presbyterianism that emerged from the revival of the Great Awakening. We learn, too, that Hodge also valued friendships with German scholars of pietistic background and spirit. So Hodge developed a form of Presbyterianism known for its balance, a balance sorely needed in our own day."
In 1981 Andrew Hoffecker published his Piety and the Princeton Theologians, creating renewed interest in Old Princeton Seminary and, surprisingly, focusing that interest more on Princetons piety than on its theology. Now in his biography of the central figure of Princetons great triumvirateAlexander, Hodge, and WarfieldHoffecker has done it again. In his Charles Hodge: New Side-Old School Presbyterian he has given us a long-needed biography of Hodge that is properly sympatheticand criticalwith careful attention to the life and thought of this many-sided man. This book provides great reading for Princeton Seminarys bicentennial history in 2012.
Charles Hodge has for too long been victimized by stereotypes. In this fine biograph Andy Hoffnecker sets the record straight. Here we meet Hodge the careful Reformed thinker who nurtured a deep piety. This book gives us a winsome portrait of a theologian who still deserves to be taken with utmost seriousness.
Andrew Hoffeckers biography of Charles Hodge is a beautifully written, compelling analysis of the theologian whose name is synonymous with the Princeton Theology. Incisive, appreciatively critical, and refreshingly judicious, Hoffeckers Hodge is neither a rigid rationalist nor an unbridled religious enthusiast, but a man of the center who combined both the head and the heartboth Presbyterian confessionalism and evangelical pietismin the ideal of the Princeton tradition. Hoffeckers study, which clarifies the role that Hodge played in the development of American Presbyterian identity and uncovers the relevance of his European sojourn both to his understanding of theological education and to his infamous claim that no new idea ever originated at Old Princeton Seminary, is a masterful examination of the life and ministry of the theological giant whoto the dismay of some and the delight of otherscontinues to exert a formative influence on the life of the evangelical mind.
This is a first rate work by a seasoned historian of American religion. Hoffeckers treatment of the towering figure of 19th century American Presbyterianism is both sympathetic and constructively critical. Hoffecker helps us grasp why Hodge had such enduring influence beyond his life. One cannot understand the 19th century without taking Hodge seriously, nor can one understand the Reformed tradition in America without seeing Hodge as its foremost advocate. Hoffecker has reminded us throughout of both these realities. This is a masterful biography lacking any vestiges of hagiography but warmly appreciating the larger theological project which motivated Hodge. Hoffeckers Hodge is a mediating figure in an age of increasing polarities.
Andrew Hoffeckers biography of Charles Hodge is a wonderfully entertaining and informative read. Hodge is one of the historic giants of Presbyterianism, combining the virtues of scholarship, churchmanship and a delightful personality. For those who may have read some of his writings but know little of the man and the professional triumphs and personal tragedies he faced, this book will be a great introduction. To those already familiar with Hodges life, this book will be welcomed as a twice-told tale which will reinvigorate their interest in the man and his work, and set before them an example to be emulated. Andrew Hoffecker has perhaps done as much as anyone to make Old Princeton attractive to a new generation; and this is surely a worthy capstone to his career.
I welcome this new biography of Charles Hodge. In a time when it is far too easy to patronize or dismiss the stalwarts of Old Princeton, detailed and attentive biographical writing calls for equally attentive readers. I hope that this book finds many of them.
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