George Marsden

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Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I recently finished reading George Marsden's short biography of Jonathan Edwards (which is excellent) and am getting ready to read the full length one. I'm also intrigued by a book he has called "The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship."

I'm curious to know if anyone here knows his background. From reading between the lines of the one book I've read, it seems that he might be a Christian and even possibly reformed. I wikipediaed him, and noticed a degree from Westminster (which sounds like its a reformed seminary, but I don't know anything about it). Anyone?
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Did you the book 'A Life'. It wasn't a short book. LOL It was published by Yale. I believe George Marsden is Reformed. He was teaching up Church History at Notre Dame last I knew.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
Did you the book 'A Life'. It wasn't a short book. LOL It was published by Yale. I believe George Marsden is Reformed. He was teaching up Church History at Notre Dame last I knew.


So, he has 2 biographies of Edwards - he has "A Life" and then what is basically a condensed version of "A Life" and I read the condensed version. I wasn't ready to commit to the long one - but I liked the short one so much that I'm going for the whole hog now!
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Marsden is a theological moderate from a Christian Reformed Church background. He is an excellent historian who is quite sympathetic to those more conservative than him.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
Marsden is a theological moderate from a Christian Reformed Church background. He is an excellent historian who is quite sympathetic to those more conservative than him.

That's helpful, thanks. I like to know a bit about the perspective of the people I'm reading. Its helpful to know the type of lens through which they view history.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Yes, Marsden is an excellent Reformed/evangelical historian who spent much of his career at Calvin in Grand Rapids (the Calvinist Vatican!). He is an expert on fundamentalism in America and has written widely and wisely on it. One of his books was a history of my alma mater, Fuller Seminary. He has only been at Notre Dame for the last few years where he is currently in a retired emeritus role.

Marsden and Noll are probably the most notable evangelical (leaning hard to the moderate side) historians alive today who write on American religious history. Charlie nailed it by affixing the label "moderate" to this scholar of Christian Reformed background.

Incidentally, while he is reputed to be a brilliant historian, I remember finding some of his observations on Fuller a little on the shallow side. If you put Marsden on one side (overly positive) and Lindsell on the other (overly negative), you might get a fairly balanced view of the place.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Kathleen,

I actually preferred his book on Edwards more than Ian Murray's book. It was set more in historical setting, didn't cover blemishes, but was a very personal read at the same time. It was one of the best biographies I have read to date as far as biographies go. And I have read a lot of them. Edwards is not one of my favorite subjects but this biography was very good.
 
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