Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014
Beauty, Horror, and Tragedy
The Idea of Hell in Jonathan Edwards and William James
Among theologians and philosophers in the American tradition, the idea of Hell is understood best through the works of Jonathan Edwards and William James. Both Edwards and James understood the idea of Hell as part of a worldview in which humans were humbled by their fallible nature. There are important differences between the views of Edwards and James, however, and these differences involve how each of them apprehends the suffering of other people. Edwards remains aesthetically aloof regarding the suffering of others, while James remains tragically tied to such suffering.