Charles Hodge

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HODGE, CHARLES

American Presbyterian theologian; b. Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 28, 1797; d. Princeton, N.J., June 19, 1878. His father, a surgeon in George Washington's army, died in Hodge's childhood. Hodge attended Princeton and Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under Archibald alexander. In 1822 he was appointed professor of Oriental and Biblical literature at the seminary, a post he held until 1840. On a leave of absence (182628) he studied at the University of Berlin under the historian John A. W. Neander and became acquainted with Otto von Gerlach's circle.

In 1840 Hodge succeeded Alexander as professor of didactic and polemic theology, holding this chair until his death. His class lectures were the basis of his Systematic Theology (1872), the most generally used seminary text of the late 19th century. Hodge carried on the theological tradition of Alexander, a blend of 17th-century Calvinist scholasticism and Scottish realism that stressed both the power of reason and a verbally inspired, inerrant Bible as the basis of faith. Although he contributed to the original division, Hodge worked actively to reunite the Old and New School Presbyterians after the Civil War, and his efforts were instrumental in effecting union in 1869. He personally taught more than 3,000 ministers, and by the time of the general assembly in 1890, his theology was almost universally held among Presbyterians.

Bibliography: a. a. hodge, The Life of Charles Hodge (New York 1880). w. thorp, ed., Lives of Eighteen from Princeton (Princeton 1946). h. t. kerr, ed., Sons of the Prophets (Princeton 1963).

[r. k. macmaster]

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Hodge, Charles (1797–1878). Calvinistic theologian. Ordained into the Presbyterian ministry (1821), he was educated at Princeton at which seminary he taught biblical studies, then theology, for most of his life. He wrote several New Testament commentaries as well as a 3-vol. Systematic Theology, and edited the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review for over forty years. Firmly committed to the Westminster Confession, he held to the verbal inspiration and infallibility of scripture, though Hodge always remained tolerant to those who could not fully subscribe to his doctrinal position.

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Charles Hodge, 1797–1878, American Calvinist theologian, b. Philadelphia. He was associated with Princeton Theological Seminary, where, after graduation, he taught first Oriental and biblical literature and later theology for 58 years. His chief work is his Systematic Theology (3 vol., 1872–73). He also wrote The Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (2 vol., 1839–40), Discussions of Church Polity (1878), and several widely used volumes of commentaries. He contributed the equivalent of many volumes to the Princeton Review, which he founded and edited for over 40 years. His biography was written (1880, repr. 1969) by his son Archibald Alexander Hodge, 1823–86, who succeeded to his place at the seminary.