Jonathan Edwards, Race, and Slavery–Not for credit

June 6, 2022 - June 10, 2022
June 6-10 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time
New HavenCT

This course will explore the views and practices of British-American theologian, revivalist, and missionary Jonathan Edwards on race and slavery in the contexts of the “vast Americas” in general and of colonial New England in particular, showing the growth of African slavery and the slave trade, biblical and theological justifications for them, and evolving racial theories. Contemporary voices from the 18th-century Black Atlantic will also be considered, including Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein and Anton Wilhelm Amo. Edwards’s writings on slavery, the slave trade, and race will be examined, including sermons to First Nation or Native American peoples. The course will conclude with an appraisal of the role of Edwardseans, such as Samuel Hopkins, Jonathan Edwards Jr., and Lemuel Haynes, in the struggle for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the early republic.

All readings will be provided in a downloadable format.



–        Jonathan Edwards and his time

–        Slavery in the time of JE

–        Race in the time of JE

Overview sources

–        Primary sources: Jonathan Edwards and others

–        Secondary sources


Jonathan Edwards and Slavery (material culture)

–        Source overview

–        Slave ownership

–        Position of slaves in NE society

Intermezzo I

–        A contemporary European voice on slavery: Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein (ca. 1717-ca. 174)


Jonathan Edwards and Slavery (religious thought)

–        Sources overview

–        Concept of slavery in Scripture

Intermezzo II

–       A contemporary European voice on slavery: Anton Wilhelm Amo (c. 1703 – c. 1759)


Jonathan Edwards and Race

–        Source overview

–        First Nation People

–        Missions


Jonathan Edwards, Slavery and Race: An appraisal

Legacy: abolishing slavery

–        Samuel Hopkins

–        Jonathan Edwards Jr.

The ambivalent legacy of Edwardseanism

Dr. Kenneth P. Minkema is the Executive Editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards and of the Jonathan Edwards Center & Online Archive at Yale University, with appointments as Research Faculty at Yale Divinity School and as Research Associate at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He offers seminars in early American and early modern religious history, as well as reading courses in all periods of American religious history. From 2004 through 2009, he served as the Executive Secretary of the American Society of Church History. Besides publishing numerous articles on Jonathan Edwards and topics in early American religious history in professional journals including The Journal of American History, The William and Mary Quarterly, The New England Quarterly, Church History and The Massachusetts Historical Review, he has edited volume 14 in the Edwards Works, Sermons and Discourses: 1723-1729, and co-edited A Jonathan Edwards Reader; The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader; Jonathan Edwards at 300: Essays on the Tercentennial of His Birth; and Jonathan Edwards’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”: A Casebook. He has also co-edited The Sermon Notebook of Samuel Parris, 1689-1694, dealing with the Salem Witchcraft crisis, and The Colonial Church Records of Reading and Rumney Marsh, Massachusetts. Finally, Dr. Minkema is currently part of a team that is preparing Cotton Mather’s “Biblia Americana” for publication.

Adriaan C. Neele was in the information-technology industry before completing his doctorate in Theology at the University of Utrecht in 2002. Following a position as dean at Farel Reformed Theological Seminary in Montréal, Canada, and part-time minister of l’Église Reformée du Québec (2002-2004), he served as pastor of the Eben-Haëzer congregation of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk of Africa, Pretoria, and as senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria and the Africa Institute of Mission, Hammanskraal, South Africa (2004-2007). From 2007-12, he was the Associate Editor of the JEC, and has authored numerous books and articles on post-Reformation theology and on Edwards. In addition, he is co-founder of a software company and of a non-profit foundation for web-based theological education. In 2012, Dr. Neele joined the faculty at the University of the Free State and then at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, but still serves as the JEC’s chief technology and software expert, and plays an important role in developing our international contacts and educational resources.