Hodge, Charles 
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Time Period
12/28/1797  - 6/19/1878
Description
Philadelphia-born Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was educated at Princeton Theological Seminary, where theologian Archibald Alexander instilled a devotion for Calvinist theology and common sense reasoning. He would later name his son after his beloved mentor. Becoming a Princeton theology professor himself in 1822, he built upon the work of Archibald Alexander by espousing the conservative Reformed orthodoxy as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The task of theology, he argued, was the orderly systematization of the "facts" of the Bible. Through his teaching and publications, Hodge became the leading 19th century Old School Presbyterian theologian in the United States.

Hodge’s conservatism often led to tensions with various groups. Suspicious of New School Presbyterians and their perceived "doctrinal indifference" to the Westminster standards, he supported the New School-Old School Presbyterian schism that occurred in 1837. He also had some reservations about Darwinism, viewing random biological change as atheism.
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Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
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Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Narrative
Charles Hodge was born on December 27, 1797, in Philadelphia. He was educated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), graduating in 1815. The following year, he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he came under the tutelage of the theologian Archibald Alexander, who fostered in Hodge a devotion to Calvinist theology, practical piety, and common sense reasoning. After studying Hebrew and preaching at various pulpits in Philadelphia for a year, he was appointed an instructor of Greek and Hebrew at Princeton Seminary. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America in 1821 and promoted to professor of oriental and biblical literature in 1822. That same year, he married Sarah Bache, great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. After she died in 1849, he married Mary Hunter Stockton in 1852.

In 1826, Hodge traveled to Europe to study languages at Paris and theology at the German universities at Halle and Berlin. While impressed with German scholarship and preaching, he rejected the German commitment to post-Kantian philosophy as well as the speculative theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Hodge returned to Princeton in 1828 where he spent the rest of his life advancing the cause of Reformed theology and scholarship.

Through his teaching and publications, Hodge became the leading 19th century Old School Presbyterian theologian in the United States. In 1825, he established a journal, the Biblical Repertory, later renamed the Princeton Review, through which he articulated his confessional Presbyterian perspective on a number of theological as well as social issues. Building upon the work of Archibald Alexander, Hodge espoused the conservative Reformed orthodoxy as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and interpreted it through nineteenth-century "glasses." In the face of the moderating Calvinism of the New Divinity Theology of Nathaniel W. Taylor at Yale, the New England Theology of Moses Stuart at Andover Seminary, and the New School revivalists in his own denomination, such as Charles Finney, Hodge defended the Augustinian notion that humans were born with an inherent propensity to sin and that only divine grace could deliver them from it. While other theological traditions, such as those of Friedrich Schleiermacher and the American theologian Horace Bushnell, exalted internal experience as the arbiter of religious truth, Hodge stressed its rational character. The task of theology, he argued, was the orderly systematization of the "facts" of the Bible. Hodge’s understanding of theology as an inductive science reflects the American preoccupation with the Baconian scientific method and the pervasiveness of the Scottish Common Sense Realist philosophy. In 1840, Hodge was made professor of didactic and polemical theology at Princeton. He published several biblical commentaries, devotional studies, and, most importantly, a three-volume Systematic Theology, which summarized a lifetime of teaching Reformed theology. As theologians were evaluating the implications of Charles Darwin’s work on biological evolution, the 78-year-old Hodge published What Is Darwinism? in 1874. While he did not reject the notion of evolution or even the principle of natural selection as an explanation for evolution, as many later fundamentalists would, Hodge viewed random biological change as atheism.

Throughout his career, Hodge actively participated in the affairs of the Northern Presbyterian Church. In the face of what he perceived as the doctrinal indifference of New School Presbyterians to the Westminster standards, Hodge supported the schism that occurred in 1837. On the eve of the Civil War, he opposed efforts to make allegiance to the Union a requirement of church membership. But after the South attacked Fort Sumter, Hodge unconditionally supported the Union’s effort to reunite the nation. By the time Hodge retired from teaching in 1877, he had taught some 3,000 students, more than any other seminary professor at that time. Through his long career at Princeton as well as his wide-ranging writings, Hodge had earned a reputation as one of the United States’ most influential theologians in the 19th century. While the currents of American theology were rapidly changing around him, Hodge defended the classical Reformed theology that had had a formative impact on American culture for more than 300 years.
Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
The Second Great Awakening
New School-Old School Controversy Splits the General Assembly
Reunification of New School and Old School Presbyterians
Movements
The Second Great Awakening
Photographs

Charles Hodge portrait- Internet Archive- from Princetoniana by C. A. Salmond

Charles Hodge portrait- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-cwpbh-02864

Charles Hodge portrait younger- Internet Archive- from The Life of Charles Hodge by A. A. Hodge
Book/Journal Source(s)
Kurian, George Thomas, and Mark Lamport (Eds.), 2016. The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Web Source(s)
https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442244320/The-Encyclopedia-of-Christianity-in-the-United-States-5-Volumes
If you enjoyed reading this entry, please buy the Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States at the link above.
Web Page Contributor
P. C. Kemeny

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