Nathaniel William Taylor

1786-1858. American theologian and educator. Born in Connecticut, he graduated from Yale (1807) where he studied theology under Timothy Dwight.* After ordination and a pastorate at the First Church of New Haven (1812-22), he was appointed the first professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, where he remained the rest of his life. He tried to construct a consistent theology of revivalism suited to the Second Great Awakening.* This modified Calvinism was based on the earlier Edwardean revivalistic theology. Taylor's main thesis concerned the problem of moral depravity, and although he taught that sin was inevitable, each person was nevertheless responsible for his own moral choice-a position consistent with revivalistic preaching. His views created such controversy among Congregationalists that a more orthodox and Calvinistic seminary was formed at Hartford (1834). Taylor's works include Practical Sermons, Lectures on the Moral Government of God (1859), and Essays and Lectures upon Select Topics in Revealed Religion (1859).