Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy

Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy

Paul C. Gutjahr


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Publisher Description:

Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was one of nineteenth-century America's leading theologians, owing in part to a lengthy teaching career, voluminous writings, and a faculty post at one of the nation's most influential schools, Princeton Theological Seminary. Surprisingly, the only biography of this towering figure was written by his son, just two years after his death. Paul Gutjahr's book, therefore, is the first modern critical biography of a man some have called the "Pope of Presbyterianism."

Hodge's legacy is especially important to American Presbyterians. His brand of theological conservatism became vital in the 1920s, as Princeton Seminary saw itself, and its denomination, split. The conservative wing held unswervingly to the Old School tradition championed by Hodge, and ultimately founded the breakaway Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The views that Hodge developed, refined, and propagated helped shape many of the central traditions of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American evangelicalism. Hodge helped establish a profound reliance on the Bible among evangelicals, and he became one of the nation's most vocal proponents of biblical inerrancy. Gutjahr's study reveals the exceptional depth, breadth, and longevity of Hodge's theological influence and illuminates the varied and complex nature of conservative American Protestantism.

477 Pages
Published April 2011

About the Author

Paul C. Gutjahr is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University. He also teaches American Studies and Regious Studies. He has written and edited numerous books and articles, including: An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1776-1881; Popular American Literature of the 19th Century; and Illuminating Letters: Typography and Literary Interpretation.

528 Pages
Published April 2011

Book Details

477 Pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: April 2011
ISBN 10: 0199740429
ISBN 13: 9780199740420

"Gutjahr's biography renders Charles Hodge's confessional Calvinism in all its intricacy and combativeness, but it also restores the humaneness of the man, his friendships, affections, travels, ambitions, and frailties. Having spent ten years with Hodge, Gutjahr has gained from that intimacy a remarkably panoramic view of nineteenth-century American Protestant thought. It is an impressive achievement."
— Leigh E. Schmidt, Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America, Harvard University

"Charles Hodge was an unwritten chapter in American religious history until he met his biographer in Paul Gutjahr. This monumental, carefully researched, and thoroughly readable study of the 'Pope of Presbyterianism' fills a large gap in the history of conservative Protestant theology in America and ofers keen insight into an intellecutal tradition whose legacy can be traced to the present day."
— David Morgan, Professor of Religion, Duke University

"Charles Hodge, one of the most influential religious thinkers in nineteenth-century America, has been the subject of considerable specialized research but few general studies. Paul Gutjahr has now remedied this lack with an unusually capable book that both explains why Hodge's conservative Calvinism exerted its great influence and why the theologian became such a beloved figure to so many (including some of his foes). It is a most welcome biography."
— Mark Noll, author of America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln