Monday, May 15, 2006


Friday, May 12, 2006


At the end of his mammoth book review- theological disputation narrowly focussed on John Taylor's Arminianism, Edwards wrote:

'Let God arise, and plead his own cause, and glorify his own great name. AMEN.'

Original Sin, Works, 3, 437.

Considering the sheer verbosity of Edwards' work, his statement is an interesting statement of divine sovereignty and human responsibility!

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Small sobering thought.

True for Calvin, certainly true for Jonathan Edwards:

Robert Kingdon writes

'There is one problem with this as with almost all current work on Calvin's thought that I should like to point out: it ignores the fact that there is a considerable body of Calvin's sermons that has never been published, and that conceivably might force revisions in our opinions when they are made available. Of particular possible relevance for this book are Calvin's eighty-six sermons on Genesis, delivered in 1559 and 1560, manuscript copies of which survive in Oxford and Paris, but only ten of which have been published. Until the entire corpus of these sermons is edited and published, this, like almost all books on Calvin's thought, will have to be regarded as provisional in its conclusions.'

Church History; Jun93, Vol. 62 Issue 2, p264, 2p

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Interview with JEC staff in Hartford Courant

The quest for the historical JEC could be fruitfully applied to this interview - but for what it is worth, here is the text:

The softer side of Jonathan Edwards seen through Yale project

Source: Hartford Courant (1-10-06) (This link is broken)

Yale Divinity School historian Kenneth P. Minkema wants people to see the warm, fuzzy side of Edwards, the side that wandered through fields and sat on the pristine banks of the Hudson; the side that pondered an "appearance of divine glory, in almost everything."To that end, Minkema and three more of Edwards' greatest admirers have already spent a good portion of their adult lives bringing the theologian/philosopher/"Renaissance man" to the masses through print. Now, cloistered in a corner of the Yale Divinity School, using the power of the Internet, those same academics are laboring away to make Edwards - and all 60,000 pages of his work - available to the common man.

Minkema is betting that the modern world will like the other Edwards - a lot. In fact, he's staking his career on it."People read `Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' in high school and they never want to read anything by Edwards again," he says. "But here was an incredibly luminous mind that needs to be discovered and re-discovered and re-discovered."The Jonathan Edwards Project, though it is not without competition (a fan site is a favorite among evangelical Christians), is the first of its kind - a comprehensive, exhaustive effort to produce an online archive of all of Edwards' sermons, treatises, letters and musings to serve the needs of anyone who cares to know the man.To date, no other university or institute has attempted to transcribe, computerize and then post online the complete works of any one historical figure - not Benjamin Franklin, not George Washington, not even Abraham Lincoln.

So why Edwards? Widely known in the Colonial world, Edwards is far from a household name today."Edwards was a Christian intellectual par excellence. Not only was he a preacher; he was a historian and a philosopher," said Michael McClenahan, an Oxford scholar who devoted his doctoral thesis to Edwards. "It's not common in the history of Western development that one figure pulls together so many strands of human endeavor."While Edwards managed to pull together those disparate human elements, pulling together his works for the Internet has proved a bit more of a challenge.For the majority of his 54 years, Edwards wrote for several hours every day: sermons, letters to friends or family and diary entries. Colonial presses printed some of his works, and in 1954 Yale had already started putting together "The Works of Jonathan Edwards," a 26-volume collection of Edwards' writings.

But less than half of Edwards' writing was available in print.Yale created the Edwards archive to overcome that shortcoming.Boxes of Edwards' manuscripts - often folded and placed in 4-inch envelopes - lay dispersed throughout the stacks of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, donated to Yale in 1901 by Edwards' descendants. However, the center had to track down many of his works in the hands of collectors as well as in repositories throughout the United States and Great Britain.Once the majority of those works were located, the historians began the tedious, eye-straining work of transcribing very, very small, slanted handwriting, typing the work word-for-word into a computer and, after an intense editorial review, finally posting their entries into a searchable online database.

To add to the labor, Team Edwards decided to add to the website the entire 26-volume series published by Yale Press.Last April, the Jonathan Edwards site went live ( with his major works, including the punishing discourse "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." By the time Minkema finishes the site, it will contain, besides the primary texts, reference works, secondary works, chronologies, audio and video, and visual sources.

H/T I took the text of this mirror site. There is no indication of a copywrite restriction, if there is well ...
The paragraphs are random and don't reflect the original - if the link was working I would fix them.

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Thomas Kidd

Some interesting new writing on Edwards promised here.

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Kin Yip Louie on Edwards' theological aesthetics

Kin Yip Louie, graduate student at Edinburgh University, kindly responded to some questions we sent him regarding his research on Edwards - motivation, content, and future plans. We are grateful for his full response ...

My name is Kin Yip Louie. Louie is my family name. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I graduated from Queen’s University, Canada and studied in doctoral program in economics at Princeton University. When God called me into ministry, I left Princeton and went to Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, to get a M.Div. I pastored in Chinese churches in New York City for several years. Then I went back to Hong Kong to teach in China Graduate School of Theology for three years. CGST sent me to University of Edinburgh to pursue a Ph.D. in 2003. I hope to have my oral examination (called viva in UK) in June. I’ll start teaching at CGST again in September this year. Through CGST, I hope to serve the Christians in Hong Kong and in Mainland China.

Jonathan Edwards is one of the heroes of Westminster Seminary. I received a heavy dose of Puritan and Reformed theology at Westminster, but I did not have the opportunity to study Edwards at Westminster. When I need to choose a subject for my doctoral research at Edinburgh, a senior colleague, Carver Yu, at CGST suggested the aesthetics of Jonathan Edwards. A Catholic priest and philosopher once told Carver that Edwards’ aesthetics holds great promise for facing the challenges of postmodernity. I was surprised that a Catholic scholar could be impressed by Edwards. Given my theological background, I decided that Edwards should be both an interesting and a feasible topic for me.

My dissertation is on the theological aesthetics of Edwards. In particular, I want to study how Edwards uses aesthetic language to defend and develop Reformed theology to face the challenge of the English Enlightenment. In the past, Edwardsian scholarship has split into two streams. On the one hand, Miller, Delattre, Lee and others portray Edwards as an innovative theologian building on the insights of the Enlightenment, while minimizing his debt and concern for traditional Reformed theology. On the other hand, Gerstner, Murray and others paint an Edwards as a revival preacher and staunch defender of Reformed orthodoxy, making Edwards’ philosophical speculations a minor concern. I follow scholars such as Holmes and McClymond in seeing Reformed theology and philosophical speculation as both important to Edwards. My dissertation examines how Edwards uses aesthetic categories to develop his metaphysics, his doctrine of the Trinity, his Christology and his soteriology. Delattre’s Beauty and Sensibility, still the standard work on this topic, develops Edwards’ aesthetics mainly as a metaphysics of being with minor doctrinal concern. I differ from Delattre in arguing that doctrinal issues are at the heart of Edwards’ aesthetics. I find that the aesthetic category of sublimity, ignored by Delattre, is actually very important to Edwards. The aesthetic categories of beauty (the consent of being to being) and sublimity (the greatness / nothingness contrast between Creator and creatures) give Edwards’ theology its richness, vitality and unresolved tensions.

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The JEC blog

Thank you for reading the JEC blog and for your continued interest in Edwards. If you would like to contact us about this blog - with suggestions for content, or with submissions, questions, observations, book reviews (anything JE related) - please email edwards (at] yale dot edu

If you are researching an Edwards related topic - or doing formal graduate research on Edwards - we would love to let everyone know what you are doing.

Finally, are you using the new Edwards archive? What do you think?



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Professor George Marsden and a new JE biography

George Marsden: Bringing Jonathan Edwards to Life

When writing the acclaimed biography Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale, 2003), George Marsden, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, sought to contextualize Edwards, a prominent Protestant theologian and author. In the work, Marsden explores how Edwards’ defense of the Puritan tradition to philosophers of the Enlightenment took shape amidst the clashing traditions of British Protestants, French Catholics, and Native Americans on the Western frontier of New England.

Marsden’s fascination with Edwards began during graduate school and has continued throughout an academic career focused on American religion and culture, especially the history of Protestantism. When Yale University Press, which is publishing the works of Edwards, presented him with the opportunity to write an accompanying biography, Marsden accepted. He has since been honored with seven awards, including the Bancroft Prize for the best book in American history, the Merle Curti Award for the best book in American intellectual history, and the Annibel Jenkins Prize for the best book-length biography of a late 17th or early 18th century subject.

“Religious history is a strength at Notre Dame, which is open to the religious dimension of study and religious perspectives on scholarship,” says Marsden, whose other published works include The Soul of the American University (Oxford, 1994) and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (Oxford, 1997).His current scholarly efforts include the publication of an update to his 1980 work, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism (Oxford, 1980). The update will survey the rise of political fundamentalism and explore the differences between the evangelicalism of the 1920s and the present day. Marsden is also completing an abbreviated biography of Jonathan Edwards to be published as part of a biographical series. He currently instructs an upper- level history seminar for undergraduates, titled “The Religious Factor in American History,” and advises several history graduate students.

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Review of Marsden on Edwards

Review of Marsden's Jonathan Edwards here.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Caldwell Book

This bio information on Robert Caldwell offers notice that he will soon publish on Edwards and the Holy Spirit. His doctoral thesis was on this topic and I gave it a very close reading - this volume will be a very valuable addition to JE studies.

Robert Caldwell

Assistant Professor of Church History

Dr. Caldwell is currently in the middle of his second year of teaching at Southwestern. He teaches the "core" M.Div. church history sequence (History of Christianity I & II and Baptist Heritage), and specializes in American Church History with a concentration in the life and thought of Jonathan Edwards. He has taught electives in American Christianity, Jonathan Edwards, and is currently planning on teaching electives in the History of American Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century and a course on the Theology of American Evangelism. He is currently working on his first book, entitled "Communion in the Spirit: The Holy Spirit as the Bond of Union in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards," to be published by Paternoster Press.

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