Manus 25: Taylor, Nathaniel William ; William Wallace Atterbury [scribe]. Notes of Lectures on Theology. (New Haven, CT) Edit


Component Unique Identifier
Item 25
Level of Description


  • 1846 (Creation)


  • Scope and Contents

    Language: English. Date: 1846. Title: Notes of Lectures on Theology. Creator: Taylor, Nathaniel William (1786-1858) ; William Wallace Atterbury (1823-1911). Place of creation: New Haven, CT. Physical description: Paper, 520 numbered pages [pages 493-520 blank] ; 20 x 16 cm. Summary: Reverend Nathaniel William Taylor was an important Protestant Theologian of the early 19th century. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1807 and was named Professor of Didactic Theology there in 1822. Taylor’s influence on American religious history derives primarily from his development and exposition of a position that came to be known as the “New Haven Theology.” This system was largely an attempt to modify traditional Calvinist doctrine to cohere with the religious revivalism of the Second Great Awakening. In the process of developing this system, Taylor rejected Calvinist predestination, and, more troubling to his dissenters, he also rejected the doctrine of Original Sin and the traditional understanding of the Atonement, arguing that Christians have the full power to turn from sin and lead a godly life and that Christ’s death is the means by which God urges sinners to be converted. These alterations led many to conclude that his theology was in fact Pelagian, and traditional Calvinists generally reject his teachings as erroneous and even heretical. Taylor’s thought was an important influence on New England Congregationalism, and it has been argued that New Haven Theology was a major factor behind the church’s decision to embrace Liberal Theology beginning in the late 19th century. This large manuscript records Taylor’s lectures in four areas: “Moral Government” (1-21), “Natural Theology” (22-120), “Evidence of Christianity” (121-180), and “Revealed Theology” (181ff) and is thus an important and fairly comprehensive depiction of his mature thought. It was written by the Reverend William Wallace Atterbury, who graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in 1843, after which he attended Yale Theological Seminary (now Yale Divinity School), graduating in 1847. It was during his tenure at the seminary that he composed this manuscript from notes taken during the lectures of Nathaniel Taylor. After graduation, Atterbury spent several years as an evangelist with the American Home Missionary Society, then served as pastor of two Presbyterian churches before he moved to New York City and took a position with the New York Sabbath Committee, where he remained for the rest of his career. He shared his name with his nephew, the famous General William Wallace Atterbury, who also graduated from Yale and, after distinguishing himself in WWI, became an important railroad executive. See Obituary Record Yale Graduates: 1911-1912 (New Haven: Yale University, July 1912): 168-169 ; available online at Note: Bound in original quarter black leather over marbled paper boards ; speckled edges ; cream endpapers ; title, “Taylor’s Theology,” in gilt on spine. Includes frontispiece, a portrait of Rev. Taylor, tipped in. Manuscript written in dark brown ink on light blue paper in a single hand. Pagination irregular, as follows, 1-66, 75-492, 493-496 [blank], 67-74, 497-520 [blank]. Hinges very weak ; front cover on verge of separating. Anne Borowitz Memorial Collection ; gift of David Borowitz, n.d. Call #: Manus 25