Hosea Ballou, preacher of universal salvation
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This dissertation is devoted to a study of the life and thought of Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), the most prominent of the leaders of American Universalism. No major work has been published in this field since 1889; there has never been a careful examination of his thought and an attempt to trace its sources. Ballou was the son of a Calvinistic Baptist minister. At eighteen he was converted to Universalism and began preaching the new "heresy" in about 1791 on a Calvinistic basis. Between 1791 and 1795 Ballou's thought went through a radical transformation. This study attempts to show that the resultant unitarianism of Ballou was the fruit of his reading of Ethan Allen's deistical work, Reason Only Oracle of Man. Allen, with his great stress on reason, destroyed Ballou's faith in the doctrines of the trinity and the divinity of Christ, the infinity of sin, and the traditional theories of the atonement. With the help of Charles Chauncy's Salvation of All Men, which justified not only his belief in Universal salvation but also helped him to substitute the Arian for the trinitarian view of Christ, and to view the atonement as the reconciliation of man to God and not vice versa; and Ferdinand Olivier Petitpierrets Thoughts on the Divine Goodness, which helped him to see Christ's atonement as an expression of God's love, and also gave him a firm base for a theory of determinism; Ballou began the reconstruction of his religious thought. His first sermon on a unitarian and Arian base was preached in 1795. Within ten years, through the power of his argumentation, and against the opposition of the prominent Universalist John Murray, Ballou had converted the Universalist ministry to Unitarianism. In 1805 his new thought was fully systematized in! Treatise on Atonement, a brilliant piece of reasoning and debating expressed in the language of rural America [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D)--Boston University
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