Samuel Hopkins

American Congregationalist, theologian of the late colonial era of the United States


September 17, 1721
December 20, 1803
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Hopkins, Samuel,--1721-1803, Calvinism, Congregational churches, History, Early works,


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Samuel Hopkins (the younger) was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and was named after his uncle, Samuel Hopkins (1693–1755), a minister in the church in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Hopkins graduated from Yale College in 1741, then studied divinity in Northampton, Massachusetts with his brother-in-law Jonathan Edwards. He was licensed to preach in 1742, and in December 1743 was ordained pastor of the North Parish of Sheffield (now Great Barrington) in Housatonic, Massachusetts, a small settlement of only 30 families, from 1743 to 1769. Hopkins theological views were faced opposition and was finally dismissed from the pastorate on the grounds of lack of funds for his support. From April 1770 until his death in 1803 Hopkins preached at the First Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island While the British occupied Newport from 1776-1780, Hopkins preached at Newburyport, Massachusetts, and Canterbury and Stamford, Connecticut.

Hopkins received a Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1802.

He created the theological scheme that bears his name, Hopkinsianism, also known as the New Divinity. This religious system is a form of Calvinism which its adherents called "consistent Calvinism." Hopkins is credited with originating the concept of "disinterested benevolence". The view evolved into a distinct theology under Nathaniel W. Taylor, a later instructor of theology at Yale Divinity School, known as the "New Haven Theology" or New England theology, which became important in the Second Great Awakening. Originally a slaveholder, Hopkins was one of the first of the Congregationalist ministers to denounce slavery. His efforts coincided with the 1774 law that forbade the importation of slaves into Rhode Island, and the 1784 law that granted freedom to all slaves born in Rhode Island after March 1785. During America's war of independence, Hopkins' school for negro missionaries to Africa was broken up due to the confusion.

An early opponent to the institution of slavery, he published a pamphlet entitled, "A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans," which was addressed "To the Honorable Members of the Continental Congress, Representatives of the Thirteen United American Colonies."

-- Wikipedia

Influence of Samuel Hopkins

Works published by Samuel Hopkins

Works published about Samuel Hopkins

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