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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