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A. A. Hodge

Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823-1886), an American Presbyterian leader, was the principal of Princeton Seminary between 1878 and 1886. He was the son of Charles Hodge and named after the first principal of Princeton Seminary, Archibald Alexander.

Biographical overview

A. A. Hodge attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and Princeton Theological Seminary, and, after spending three years (1847-1850) in India as a missionary, held pastorates at Lower West Nottingham, Maryland (1851-1855), Fredericksburg, Virginia (1855-1861), and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (1861-1864). In 1864 he accepted a call to the chair of systematic theology in the Western Theological Seminary (later Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There he remained until in 1877 he was called to Princeton to be the associate of his father in the chair of systematic theology, to the full duties of which he succeeded in 1878. This post he retained till his death.

At the time of his death, Hodge was in the zenith of his powers. Every element that entered into his eminent reputation put on its best expression during the closing years of his life. He was public-spirited, and helped every good cause. He was a trustee of the College of New Jersey and a leading man in the Presbyterian Church. He was a man of wide interests and touched the religious world at many points. During the years immediately preceding his death he was writing, preaching, lecturing, making addresses, coming into contact with men, influencing them, and by doing so widening the influence of the Christianity.

Hodge's distinguishing characteristic as a theologian was his power as a thinker. He had a mind of singular acuteness, and though never a professed student of metaphysics, he was essentially and by nature a metaphysician. His theology was that of the Reformed confessions. He had no peculiar views and no peculiar method of organizing theological dogmas; and though he taught the same theology that his father had taught before him, he was independent as well as reverent.

His first book and that by which he is best known was his Outlines of Theology, which was translated into Welsh, modern Greek, and Hindustani. The Atonement is still one of the best treatises on the subject. This was followed by his commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, a very useful book, full of clear thinking and compact statement. He contributed some important articles to encyclopedias – Johnson's, McClintock and Strong's, and the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian Review, to the pages of which he was a frequent contributor.

This article includes content derived from the public domain Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1914.

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