Timothy Dwight


Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), Congregational minister, theologian and poet, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. A grandson of Jonathan Edwards, Dwight was educated at Yale and later became a tutor (1771-77) and then president of the university from 1795 until his death. Dwight sought a via media between the older Calvinism of an earlier generation, which, for example, stressed conversion through parish nurture (i.e. through sacraments and preaching), and the New Divinity theology of Samuel Hopkins and Joseph Bellamy, which advocated immediate conversion through revivalism. Thus, Dwight preached practical morality while rejecting the central role of logic. In this endeavor he was a harbinger of the New Haven theology as developed by his student Nathaniel W. Taylor. 

For further reading, see J. Fitzmier, New England’s Moral Legislature: Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817 (Indiana, 1998). 

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