Subscribe now

Bitesize Biography – Charles Hodge

By S. Donald Fortson III
January 2014 | Review by Michael Bentley
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0-85234-927-4
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: 5.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

Bitesize Biography — Charles Hodge
S. Donald Fortson III
EP Books, 128 pages, £5.99
ISBN: 978-0-85234-927-4
Star Rating : 4

I knew the name ‘Charles Hodge’ from the three, green, cloth-covered volumes of his systematic theology that have been in my library for almost 50 years. However, I knew little about the man or his work.

His father was a Scottish Presbyterian who emigrated to America via Northern Ireland and his mother came from French Huguenot stock. Sadly, his father died when he was a baby and so his godly mother cared for both Charles and his brother. 

Converted during a revival when he was 17 years old, he came under the influence of Archibald Alexander, who established Princeton Seminary in 1812. Alexander encouraged godliness, daily meditation on Scripture and the reading of Christian biographies.

Although Hodge spent some time in Germany as a student, all of his working life was lived in America. There he was devoted to seminary teaching and writing. He married in 1822 and his first child was given the name ‘Archibald Alexander’, after his beloved teacher.

He lived through the turmoil of most of the nineteenth century. He witnessed the uproar around the abolition of slavery, mourned over the murder of Abraham Lincoln and grieved over the bloody civil war between north and south, and followed the reconstruction that ensued. 

He endured the pain of division within his own Presbyterian Church, but showed a gracious and generous spirit to those with whom he disagreed. However, although he was a peacemaker, he understood that there was also a time to take a stand. This he did, battling against a rising tide of teaching that sought to undermine the historic, orthodox Christian faith.

Those who have a great interest in the United States, and particularly Presbyterian history, will find this a helpful and fascinating book.

Michael Bentley

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Christian and Technology
John V. Fesko

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…