Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On our status

Greetings. This little blog may one rise in the resurrection of the just, or may even be raptured. Until then may I encourage you to follow our links to the JEC website and the blog there.

Thank you


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

want a Blank Bible without the work?

well then today is your lucky day! although some industrious souls have gone to great lengths to create their own version of Jonathan Edwards's Blank Bible (see here), the day has arrived where someone has done the work for you.

Zondervan has just announced the Noteworthy Collection of NIV and TNIV bibles, sporting blank right-hand pages after every left-hand page of text.

check it out!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jonathan Edwards for Armchair Theologians by James P. Byrd

Presenting a fresh view of Jonathan Edwards to the "average Joe" (current American political connotations of that phrase notwithstanding) is always a bit of a trick. For those who have heard of Edwards, all they really know about him is that he was a Puritan (strike 1!) and that he preached a sermon called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which most read in high school (strikes 2 and 3 combined!). Attuned to the odds he is up against, James Byrd, professor at Vanderbilt, takes on this difficult task in his book, Jonathan Edwards for Armchair Theologians.

As i said in the previous post, the Armchair Theologians series is a delightful little series that is described by the publisher as "Written by experts but designed for the novice, the Armchair series provides accurate, concise, and witty overviews of some of the most profound moments and theologians in Christian history." Byrd's volume is no exception. Surveying the broad scope of Edwards's life and work, the author carefully interweaves both, letting Edwards's big ideas frame the overall structure of the book.

Giving them roughly a chapter a piece, topics included in this volume include, in order, Edwards's exploration of divine beauty in particular reference to the "Spider Letter," Revival and Religious Affections, the dismissal from Northampton, Edwards on the Will, Edwards on Original Sin, his two dissertations, and his ever-expanding legacy.

The great value of this book is twofold. First is the skill by which the author eschews the confusing, complex philosophical language often employed by Edwards (esp. on the Will and Original Sin) in order to explain the concepts in plain language. This is not to say that Edwards's works have been dumbed down. Far from it! The complexity of the arguments are retained and key philosophical terms are still defined and used, but the material is presented and illustrated in such a way that one can begin to grasp what Edwards was driving at and responding to without having to have previous experience in Enlightenment philosophy, particularly of the Lockean flavor.

Second, the last chapter on Edwards's legacy is especially helpful in demonstrating the "so what" of Edwards's continued importance today. The author quickly traces Edwards's influence from the abolitionist movement, to 19th century revivalism, to the crusades of 20th century evangelists, finally ending up in the resurgence of traditional Calvinism that has been observed among many modern evangelicals, especially in the younger groups. This chapter proves that the study of Edwards is vital to understanding the unfolding of American history from its pre-Revolution days to the post-9/11 situation that exists today, though there is still much work that needs to be done in this area of Edwards's legacy, both at home in America and abroad.

In short, this book is a wonderful survey of the life and work of Jonathan Edwards and is recommended to a wide variety of readers, whether you've been deeply immersed in Edwards studies for decades, have been away for a while and need a refresher, or if you need that extra nudge to begin wading through the inestimable richness of America's greatest theologian.

p.s. Did i mention that this is a THEOLOGY book with CARTOONS?? While, as George Marsden states in his endorsement, "[Edwards] would have been unhappy about some of the cartoons," the drawings do provide some levity and illustration to the deep concepts being read about. My personal favorite is found on page 162.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

two new books

two interesting, popular-level books on Jonathan Edwards have recently been published. i hope to be posting reviews of each in the coming weeks, but i thought i would go ahead and draw your attention to them in the meantime.

A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George M. Marsden

Marsden is back with an all-new, shorter narrative of the life of Jonathan Edwards. the publisher's description states: "A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards is not an abridgment of Marsden's earlier award-winning study but is instead a completely new narrative based on his extensive research. The result is a concise, fresh retelling of the Edwards story, rich in scholarship yet compelling and readable for a much wider audience, including students."

Jonathan Edwards for Armchair Theologians by James P. Byrd

this fascinating series of books has finally put out a volume on Edwards. if you're unfamiliar with the series, it is self-described as: "written by experts but designed for the novice, the Armchair series provides accurate, concise, and witty overviews of some of the most profound moments and theologians in Christian history." this is Byrd's first volume on Edwards, and quite a welcome one at that if for no other reason than the cartoons found throughout the pages.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reading Jonathan Edwards by M.X. Lesser

Ever since his first one arrived in 1981, M.X. Lesser's annotated bibliographies on the works of and about Jonathan Edwards have been tremendously invaluable to researchers. Earlier this year, Eerdmans released the latest in the series, Reading Jonathan Edwards: An Annotated Bibliography in Three Parts, 1729-2005.

This new volume combines the 1981 work, covering Edwards's works and scholarship from 1729-1978, the 1994 work, covering 1979-1993, and a brand new third work covering 1994-2005. In addition, Lesser has revisited the two earlier works, expanding them by a combined 140 new bibliographical additions, and full introductions accompany each of the three sections.

Most impressive is the third part, which includes 700 entries by itself! 700 new pieces of scholarship in a little over a decade. Of course, this is largely due to the resurgence of interest in Edwards around the 2003 tercentenary celebration of his birth, but 700 is still quite a remarkable number! Imagine, or reminisce, for those of you who have been studying Edwards for some time, the gigantic and tedious task of attempting to do research on this colonial pastor without the contribution of Lesser's bibliographies. What a dark, dark world it would be.

I'd love to hear from others out there who have used Lesser's bibliographies in their study and research. Tell us about your experience with them and offer any tips in using them that you might have picked up.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Watch Jonathan Edwards preaching

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Jonathan Edwards and Scotland Conference (30-31 March 2009)


As part of the Scottish Homecoming year, the University of Glasgow is hosting a conference on the relationship between Jonathan Edwards, the colonial American theologian, and Scotland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing on Edwards’s involvement with Scottish revivalists, the Scottish phase of the Enlightenment, international missions, and related topics, as well as Edwards’s legacy in Scotland. Organized with the assistance of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, this gathering aims to lead to a renewed appreciation of the fascinating and lasting association of Edwards with Scotland.

Though anyone is invited to submit, paper and session proposals are especially welcome from graduate students and younger faculty and scholars in the United Kingdom and Europe. Themes of papers or sessions can include, but are not limited to:

Evangelical Networks and Theology
Edwards and the Erskines
The Scottish Enlightenment
The Concert of Prayer
Emigration and the Scots-Irish in America
Current Issues in Edwards Scholarship

Please submit a one-paragraph abstract of your paper proposal by 15 October to:
Kelly Van Andel

There are limited funds available for travel assistance. Grants of up to £50 will be given to a select number of presenters with a demonstrated need.

HT: Bill Schweizer

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Research on Jonathan Edwards

Are you currently working on a graduate thesis that concentrates on Edwards? If you are please could you comment below telling us who you are, where you are studying, and how you are approaching JE? We've recently been able to connect people on this blog who are working on similar areas. It might be of use to you. If you have completed recently we would like to hear from you as well.

If you comment below I will consolidate into a blog post.

One possibility is a volume of essays representing the distilled wisdom (!) of recent research.

You can let me know.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Screen grab of new online edition of JE works.

If you would like to register for free access to Edwards online please go to and to register please visit

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Sacramental Union in Christ

At Stockbridge in 1751 Edwards preached to both the Indian and English congregations. The sermon was composed during the visit – he had not foreseen the need to officiate at the administration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
The text for the sermon is 1 Corinthians 10:17 – For we being many are one body, and one bread: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Noting the context of the verse Edwards develops four doctrinal aspects which he see in it. First, the christians’ union with Christ; second, the union of Christians with one another; third, the high nature of this union with Christ; finally, how this is ‘exhibited and manifested [in the] partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

He offers this developed doctrine: The Lord’s Supper was instituted as a solemn representation and seal of the holy and spiritual union of Christ’s people [to] Christ, and one to another.

The doctrine of union with Christ is central to Edwards’ applied soteriology, yet there are numerous divergent readings of the unio Christi in Edwards. In this sermon Edwards just outlines his thinking.

This is what Edwards says:
This union begins with a ‘mutual complacence (585)’. Christ loved his people from eternity (he cites here 1 John 4:19; Ephesians 5:25-27) and believers have their hearts drawn to Christ in response. So he says ‘This union of hearts is the first thing, the foundation.’ He then states a threefold analysis of this union, which is relative, legal, and vital.
I think it is of particular note that Edwards does not develop the thoughts concerning the union in the manuscript. The relative, legal, and vital, are stated, then given the barest exposition in the second part of the first proposition. There is a relative union because they are united to Christ as their head; there is a legal union because they are espoused to Christ as one spouse; and a vital union because they receive all spiritual life directly from Christ.
Consequently, ‘they must inevitably’ love one another: ‘being all so strictly united to Christ, they must in many other respects have a very close union with one another (586).’

The result is aesthetic:

‘Consequent on those things, there must be a sweet harmony among all the members as to temper and conversation; and a natural inclination to sweet society and mutual converse one with another. This union of Christians one with another is [represented] most beautifully in several texts of Scripture …’

The second proposition in the sermon concerns the nature of the sacrament as a seal. It is a confirmation God’s love for his people, and their ‘solemn declaration and open testimony and confirmation’ of their faith in the Christ of the covenant. This ‘solemn declaration’ takes place through ‘[t]heir eating and drinking’ because taking the ‘bread and wine’ ‘opening professes their union of heart, their faith and love.’ This eating and drinking is ‘their own free act and deed.’

Edwards makes a number of applications. First, (588) those who do not profess Christ as Lord should not come to the Lord’s Supper. So there are strong echoes of all the problems he experienced in Northampton in the 1740s. Every action of the Lord’s Supper are seals of ‘acceptance’, therefore those who do not accept Christ in their heart should not feign to accept him in their actions.

Moreover, ‘[t]he very notion of a church sitting down together at the Lord’s table is God’s family sitting down at this table as his children. Therefore, the design is not to make men children [who] ben’t admitted into the family that they may be received into the family.’

OK, the first application of this sublime aesthetic theology is negative! There are other applications – ‘Let the approaching feast be indeed to us a feast of love’ (589) – but these applications are clearly less significant than the warning. So the only reading of this lovely sacrament sermon is that Edwards is warning the English congregation that he holds fast to the theology that lost him the pulpit in Northampton.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

WJE 26: Catalogues of Books

Amazon has Volume 26 of the Yale Works at an unbelievable price. $64.12 which is 33% off the list price. i have never seen any WJE volume at a price like this. only three left (though it says more are coming), so get them while they're hot!

here's a short description of this final volume of the series:

This final volume in The Works of Jonathan Edwards publishes for the first time Edwards’ “Catalogue,” a notebook he kept of books of interest, especially titles he hoped to acquire, and entries from his “Account Book,” a ledger in which he noted books loaned to family, parishioners, and fellow clergy. These two records, along with several shorter documents presented in the volume, illuminate Edwards’ own mental universe while also providing a remarkable window into the wider intellectual and print cultures of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic. An extensive critical introduction places Edwards’ book lists in the contexts that shaped his reading agenda, and the result is the most comprehensive treatment yet of his reading and of the fascinating peculiarities of his time and place.

UPDATE: after those last three sold pretty quickly, Amazon again lists the volume as "IN STOCK."

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Only one Jonathan Edwards missing?

If we could add Ken Minkema reading a recently transcribed sermon from our JE this could be a perfect day?


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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Great News

Works of Jonathan Edwards Online 2.0 Registered User Beta Testing

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online 2.0 (WJE Online 2.0) is available for Registered User’s Beta phase. We invite you to participate in a month-long testing of our new release: a fully searchable digital interface through which anyone can explore Edwards' written thoughts:

Volume 1: Freedom of the Will
Volume 2: Religious Affections
Volume 3: Original Sin
Volume 4: The Great Awakening
Volume 5: Apocalyptic Writings
Volume 6: Scientific and Philosophical Writings
Volume 7: The Life of David Brainerd
Volume 8: Ethical Writings
Volume 9: A History of the Work of Redemption
Volume 10: Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723
Volume 11: Typological Writings
Volume 12: Ecclesiastical Writings
Volume 13: The "Miscellanies", Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500
Volume 14: Sermons and Discourses, 1723-1729
Volume 15: Notes on Scripture
Volume 16: Letters and Personal Writings
Volume 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733
Volume 18: The "Miscellanies," 501-832
Volume 19: Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738
Volume 20: The "Miscellanies," 833-1152
Volume 21: Writings on the Trinity, Grace, and Faith
Volume 22: Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742
Volume 23: The "Miscellanies," 1153–1360
Volume 24: The Blank Bible
Volume 25: Sermons and Discourses, 1743-1758

Register on Tuesday August 19, 2008 or later to participate in the Beta testing! The participant with the highest number of suggestions, bug reporting and or user-navigation comments WILL RECEIVE A PRIZE in the form of a book.

Check it out!

Explore the Works of Jonathan Edwards Online 2.0 at and to register please visit

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thomas A Schafer

Thomas A. Schafer

We were saddened to hear that distinguished Jonathan Edwards scholar Thomas A. Schafer died on August 8, 2008. Professor Schafer was professor (emeritus) of church history of McCormick Theological Seminary, and formerly had taught at Duke University. His decades-long efforts to transcribe and understand Edwards's "Miscellanies" resulted in volume 13 of the Yale Edwards Edition, with an authoritative introduction to the "Miscellanies" as a whole. As part of this study, Schafer carried on a meticulous and comprehensive study of the dates of all of Edwards's early manuscripts. In the near future, the Jonathan Edwards Center will digitally publish Tom's unabridged, and corrected, introduction, which had to be condensed for print publication.

Many have benefited over the years from conversations and correspondence with Professor Schafer, who readily shared his extensive--and probably unparalleled--knowledge of Edwards. In fact, Tom used to joke, in the words of a poet, that "from London to Ephesus, my name has been mentioned in many prefaces." Recent volumes, such as "Jonathan Edwards at Home and Abroad" and "The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards," were dedicated to him in recognition of his contributions to individual projects as well as to the field as a whole.

Add to this Tom's almost encyclopedic knowledge on a variety of subjects--from church history to Edison recordings to the latest discoveries in human health--and anyone who met him was sure to learn and be entertained. In the Edwards vineyard, we will greatly miss Tom's collegiality, generosity, and good cheer.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards

The Banner of Truth Trust has just released a title by John Carrick, The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards. Here's the publisher's description:

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) is widely regarded not only as America’s greatest theologian and philosopher, but also as one of her greatest preachers. It is a remarkable fact, however, that his preaching has been somewhat neglected, both in academic circles and in the Reformed churches. Published in the year that marks the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his death, this book successfully straddles the church’s and the academy’s interest in Edwards and supplies that omission.

Dr Carrick demonstrates that Edwards was preaching and writing at a unique moment in history when the Puritan spirit and the spirit of the Enlightenment intersected; he traces the remarkable fall and rise of interest in the great American preacher theologian in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; he interacts, both positively and critically, with the now complete Yale edition of Edwards’ Works and also with the ever burgeoning field of Edwards scholarship; and he cites extensively from Edwards’ sermons, treatises, and Miscellanies in order to demonstrate the power and the profundity of his preaching and thought.

The author’s main focus is, throughout, primarily homiletical; but interwoven in the homiletical focus are theological, philosophical, historical, and biographical strands. He constantly seeks to place Edwards and his sermons in their New England context – indeed, in their wider eighteenth-century transatlantic context – thus providing, wherever possible, the historical background for Edwards’ sermons. The ‘New York period’, the ‘Great Apostasy’ at Yale, the Bolton interlude, the Yale tutorship, the Boston Lecture of 1731, the Enfield sermon, the Yale Commencement of 1741, the great revivals, the landmark funerals, the Edwards-Stoddard-Williams dynamic, the Communion controversy, the Farewell Sermon, the romance of the Stockbridge years – these are all treated within the context of a systematic analysis of Edwards’ preaching under a number of different themes.

Dr Carrick does not shrink from sounding a note of critique at certain points and he warns against the danger of slavishly imitating the New England preacher. But he is also clearly convinced of Edwards’ extraordinary greatness and of the tremendous value of his sermons for Christians today. ‘Iron sharpens iron’; and the iron of Edwards’ marvelous expositions and applications is sure to sharpen the minds and souls of all those who study them carefully.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bill Schweitzer

Our warm congratulations to Bill Schweitzer, University of Edinburgh, who recently submitted his doctoral thesis. He writes

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share about ‘Interpreting the Harmony of Reality: Jonathan Edwards’ Theology of Revelation.’ I think my direction could be summed up by the questions ‘what did Edwards mean when he said that God “is a communicative Being,” and ‘what was the overarching project that unifies his work?’ It is most basically a treatment of JE’s thought on revelation, with Edwards’ characteristically radical counterpoint to the deistic critique of revelation functioning as something of an historical sub-plot. But I end up seeing all of Edwards’ theology from the perspective of revelation. My proposal is that Edwards’ unfinished ‘great works’ (all three of them) were all attempts to demonstrate the Trinitarian harmony that marks the several media of revelation. If God is ‘a communicative Being,’ if harmony is his signature attribute, and if all reality is a communication from God, then we should expect to find harmony in and between Scripture, nature, and history. I think that this is ultimately what JE was trying to show to us in all his work.
I have chapters on God’s Communicativeness, Nature and Science, the Necessity of Revelation (including a discussion of Edwards’ innovative relational/communicative argument), Scripture, History, and a concluding chapter that make my case for my theory on Edwards—something I think could be a useful tool, but I know there are other possibilities. One of my recurring themes is how Edwards has a multi-dimensional (having noetic, affectional and beatific elements) concept of revelation; something I think lots of commentators recognise implicitly. I really did not set out to pick fights with anyone, but given my topic I do interact with, for instance Bob Brown; I just think Edwards was more radically opposed to Enlightenment thought than his more nuanced interpretation might suggest. But my real foils are JE’s contemporary antagonists, not only the deists such as Toland, Tindal and Chubb, but also John Locke. One of the funnest things I got to do was to present evidence that Edwards was responding directly to Locke’s Essay in framing his arguments for the necessity of revelation.
As I think happens elsewhere, Edwards’ great fascination with heaven influences his thought on revelation in what I call the ‘redemptive-historical beatific vision’—a concept Ramsey picks up in the appendix to Vol. 8. God is communicating himself to us through the medium of redemptive history, and so even the saints in heaven study what transpires on earth. The advantage in heaven is that these things are interpreted to them by Jesus Christ (see the ‘True Saints’ funeral sermon for Brainerd in Vol. 25). It thus does not surprise me that Edwards carried on a sort of microcosmic approximation of this situation on earth, not only by the History of the Work of Redemption project but also by some little-known revival newsletters, and I think in some way by all his theology. I conclude with a challenge for the church today to take up Edwards’ unfinished project of interpreting all aspects of reality as God's communication of beautiful harmony.

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The influence of Jonathan Edwards

Dear readers!

I'm trying to track the contemporary use of Edwards - see the Keller post etc. Can anyone help me with statements from pastors and theologians alive today concerning their debt to Edwards? I guess the two biggest 'names' are Keller and Piper - but are there others?


Please comment below

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Influence of Edwards: Timothy Keller

In his book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller says this in his acknowledgements:

'I also owe a deeper sort of acknowledgement to the three people to whom I am most indebted for the fundamental shape of my Christian faith. They are, in order, my wife, Kathy, the British author C. S. Lewis, and the American theologian Jonathan Edwards.

Lewis's words appear in nearly every chapter. It would be wrong not to admit how much of what I think about faith comes from him. Edwards' words appear more seldom, because he has contributed more to the underlying structure of what could be called my 'theology.' Nevertheless, Lewis's and Edwards' thoughts agree and converge in this book in surprising ways.' (241)

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Religious Affections book club

Religious Affections has been very popular these past couple of days!

Tim Challies, of, has a regular series on his blog called "Reading Classics Together." It's basically a virtual book club where the assigned weekly reading is discussed in an initial post by Tim and then picked up in the comments section by all those involved.

Starting July 17th, Tim's book club will be going through Edwards's Religious Affections, "all 350+ pages of it." So if you've never read this work but are looking for an excuse to read it, as well as some form of accountability for such a daunting task, then join in on the discussion over at Tim's blog.

The initial "syllabus post" can be found here.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Edwards gets Wordled

Speaking of Edwards's Religious Affections, have you heard of Wordle? It's a website that creates a "word cloud" using the words from a particular text. The words used most often are displayed biggest and go down from there. So with that I give you Edwards's Religious Affections in Wordle form:

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