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.


Blogger Phil said...

I'm sad to hear this news. I first met Tom in Miami in 2000, and will never forget the time he took to talk with me about my own JE research in 2003 in Princeton as I was formulating a dissertation topic.

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