A Review of Paul Gutjahr, Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy
Disclaimer: Paul’s son, Isaac, and my son, John, have been good friends since they were in the same 6th grade class at University Elementary School. After our return from Zambia last year, they’ve played on soccer teams with Isaac a lightning quick and reliable defensive back and John a tall and strong forward. I know Paul as a believing Christian and passionate supporter of both of his soccer-playing sons. In part, he will know me as someone, how shall I put it … who “dislikes” some of our local soccer referees.
Soon after the death of his father, Archie Hodge wrote a biography (published in 1880) of the great Princeton theologian, Charles Hodge. Banner of Truth recently reissued that bio. No other biography has appeared until late last year when Paul Gutjahr, a professor of English at Indiana University, published his; then Andrew Hoffecker published another titled, Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton. Oxford University Press published the former and the latter was published by P&R in its American Reformed Biography series. After spending many years at Grove City College, Hoffecker is now professor emeritus of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson.
Recently, I sat down with Paul for an interview. Gutjahr’s dissertation dealt with the history of Bible publishing in America, so to work on Hodge was somewhat of a new direction for his research. He told me he had always wanted to write a biography but wasn’t sure whom to choose as a subject. For several reasons, Charles Hodge proved an ideal candidate.
Paul wanted to work on someone who was an honorable man...