Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton (American Reformed Biographies)

Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton (American Reformed Biographies)
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Hoffecker, Andrew W.


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Listen to an episode of Christ the Center with Dr. W. Andrew Hoffecker entitled Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton.

Publisher's Description

Charles Hodge (1797-1878) is regarded by many as the most significant American theologian of the nineteenth century. He drove forward the rapid growth of theological education and contributed to Presbyterianism's wide-ranging influence in public life. His advocacy of a Reformed orthodoxy combed with evangelical piety attracted a broad following within Old School Presbyterianism that spilled over into American evangelicalism as a whole. Hodge helped to define a distinctive ministerial model— the pastor-scholar—and his finger prints can be observed all over the Reformed Christian scene today.

Includes a Foreword by Mark A. Noll

About the Author

Dr. Andrew Hoffecker gained advanced degrees at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Brown University. He is currently Professor of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Book Details

460 Pages
Publisher: P&R Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 2011
ISBN 10: 0875526586
ISBN 13: 9780875526584

“Andrew Hoffecker’s 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 Hodge’s 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.”
— Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

"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. . . . Hoffecker’s 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."
— Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame, and author of America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

"Professor Hoffecker stresses the fundamental significance of Charles Hodge’s lifelong adherence to his pietist-confessional upbringing, a determination reinforced by his formative time in Europe as a young man. Treating Hodge’s 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."
— Paul Helm, Regent College, Vancouver

"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 theologian’s many contributions: his educating of 2,500 Presbyterian ministers, editing one of the nation’s 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."
— Dr. Gary Smith, Chair and professor of History, Grove City College has advanced degrees from John Hopkins University and Gordon-Conwell Seminary. He was awarded Pennsylvania's 'Professor of the Year' award.

"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: The Pride of Princeton. 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 Hodge’s 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."
— Ligon Duncan (PhD, Edinburgh), Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS

"Years ago I read Andrew Hoffecker’s 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 Hodge’s 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. Although church history is my normal field of specialization, I could not put Hoffecker's book down. It clearly and vividly presents Hodge's theology and his story. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the nineteenth century, with this book as my guide. I pray that God will give it a broad readership and use it to promote balanced Reformed theology in our day."
— John Frame, Reformed Theological Seminary, FL

"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 Princeton’s piety than on its theology. Now in his biography of the central figure of Princeton’s great triumvirate—Alexander, Hodge, and Warfield—Hoffecker has done it again. In his Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton he has given us a long-needed biography of Hodge that is properly sympathetic—and critical—with careful attention to the life and thought of this many-sided man. This book provides great reading for Princeton Seminary’s bicentennial history in 2012."
— David B. Calhoun, professor of church history, Covenant Theological Seminary

"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."
— Richard Mouw

"Andrew Hoffecker’s 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, Hoffecker’s Hodge is neither a rigid rationalist nor an unbridled religious enthusiast, but a “man of the center” who combined both the head and the heart—both “Presbyterian confessionalism” and “evangelical pietism”—in the ideal of the Princeton tradition. Hoffecker’s 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 who—to the dismay of some and the delight of others—continues to exert a formative influence on the life of the evangelical mind."
— Paul Kjoss Helseth, author of “Right Reason” and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal

"This is a first rate work by a seasoned historian of American religion. Hoffecker’s 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. Hoffecker’s Hodge is a mediating figure in an age of increasing polarities."
— Richard Lints, Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology Gordon-Cownell Theological Seminary

"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."
— Douglas Wilson, Christ Church, Moscow, ID

"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."
— Stephen J. Nichols, Research Professor of Christainity and Culture, Lancaster Bible College