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Jonathan Edwards: Notes and Catalogues (5 vols.)

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Overview

This collection contains Jonathan Edwards’ theological notebooks called the “Miscellanies” and his “Catalogue.”

The “Miscellanies” were written over the course of Jonathan Edwards’ ministerial career. He filled a series of private notebooks with writings on a wide variety of theological topics, numbering his entries—some 1,400 of them—in sequence. Edwards used the “Miscellanies” as a repository for ideas that he intended to develop in future sermons and treatises, and these entries contain the seeds of such contemporaneous works as Justification by Faith Alone and The History of the Work of Redemption. In these volumes you’ll see into Edwards’ thoughts on a broad range of topics and how they developed throughout his ministry.

The “Catalogue” is 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.

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With Logos Bible Software, The Works of Jonathan Edwards is completely searchable and more accessible than ever. Key theological terms are linked to dictionaries and encyclopedias, and thousands of Scripture references are linked to your preferred Bible translations. The advanced search tools help you navigate material instantly, and hyperlinks in the table of contents take you exactly where you need to go. With the power and speed of your digital library, the works of American history’s greatest theologian are accessible like never before for study, sermon preparation, reading, and research.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 13: The "Miscellanies", a–500

  • Editor: Thomas A. Schafer
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages: xvi, 596

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This book begins the publication of Jonathan Edwards' personal theological notebooks, called collectively the "Miscellanies." The entries in Volume 13 span the early years of Edwards' ministry (1722–1731) and range widely in subject matter. They record Edwards' initial thoughts on some of his most characteristic ideas, such as original sin, free will, the Trinity and God's end in creation. However, many entries relate to doctrinal and polemical subjects not included in the corpus of Edwards' published writings. The volume also contains Edwards' own alphabetical index to the entire "Miscellanies"; this "Table" is a theological document in its own right that reveals the interrelationship among the various components of Edwards' theological system.

The editor's introduction includes an interpretive essay that relates Edwards' growing body of entries in the "Miscellanies" to the main events in his life and progressing career. It also explores how even before the beginning of his tutorship at Yale in 1724 Edwards had developed both within and outside of the "Miscellanies" certain fundamental positions that constitute the truly distinctive elements in his theology. The introduction ends with an explanation of the methodology used to establish for the first time the chronology of the early Miscellanies. The conclusions of this research are summarized in a comprehensive chronological chart that locates by date not only entry nos. a-500, but also the sermons, essays and other manuscripts Edwards composed prior to 1731.

Edwardseans will find much here that will certainly contribute to a fuller understanding of Edwards' thought. . . . With this volume, the venerable Edwards edition reaches a new phase. The private Edwards, the imaginative, reflective intellect steeped in his metaphysical subject matter, now appears. The result is that we now have a richer and more complex picture of this important colonial American thinker and writer.

—Sargent Bush, Jr., Documentary Editing

Schafer's introduction is studded with stunning observations that come from a lifetime of immersion in these texts. Recommended especially for seminary and graduate libraries.

—Gerald R. McDermott, Religious Studies Review

Thomas A. Schafer is Emeritus Professor of Church History, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 18: The "Miscellanies", 501–832

  • Editor: Ava Chamberlain
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: xi, 578

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Throughout his ministerial career, Jonathan Edwards filled a series of private notebooks with writings on a wide variety of theological topics, numbering his entries—some 1,400 of them—in sequence. This book, the second of four volumes devoted to these “Miscellanies,” contains entries written during the decade of the 1730s, from July 1731 to approximately January 1740, the eve of the Great Awakening. They record the development of Edwards’ thought as he first emerged as a public spokesperson for orthodox Calvinism, assumed a leadership role in colonial New England church politics, and acquired an international reputation as an evangelist for his role in the revivals in the Connecticut River Valley of 1734 and 1735.

Edwards used the “Miscellanies” as a repository for ideas that he intended to develop in future sermons and treatises, and these entries contain the seeds of such contemporaneous works as Justification by Faith Alone and The History of the Work of Redemption. These entries also record how the Connecticut Valley revivals influenced Edwards’ thoughts on such important theological topics as the significance of perseverance, the nature of spiritual knowledge, justification by faith alone, the rationality of the Christian religion, the history of the work of redemption, and conversion and the religious life.

This volume of Edward’s ‘private notebooks,’ containing entries from 1733 to 1740, chronicles his sustained barrages against deism, which he considered Christianity’s most insidious enemy. . . . These entries will help historians sort out Edward’s views on justification, which have yet to be decisively assessed. They show that Edwards grounded justification in ontological union between Christ and the believer and put increasing emphasis on perseverance.

Religious Studies Review

Students, pastors, and scholars alike would do well to acquire this volume, along with the others in the Yale series. . . . Chamberlain’s careful presentation of Edwards’ Miscellany entries 501–832, along with her insightful introduction, make this volume a welcome new edition to the series and one worthy of consideration.

—Stephen J. Nichols, Westminster Theological Journal

Ava Chamberlain is Assistant Professor of Religion at Wright State University.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 20: The "Miscellanies", 833–1152

  • Editor: Amy Plantinga Pauw
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: xi, 569

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Throughout his adult life Jonathan Edwards kept a series of personal theological notebooks on a wide variety of miscellaneous subjects. This volume includes the notebook entries written during the eventful and tumultuous years 1740–1751, when Edwards was plagued by a series of bitter controversies with his Northampton congregation that culminated in his dismissal. This was also the period during which he witnessed, documented, and pondered the surprising revivals of the Great Awakening, as well as their precipitous decline.

The notebook entries chronicle Edwards' continuing fascination with the nature of saving faith and with faith's culmination in the glories of heaven and the torments of hell. They also reflect his keen interest in defending Christianity's reasonableness from enemies at home and abroad. A new theme emerges as Edwards expresses a growing sense of the deist threat and in numerous entries defends Christian doctrines by showing striking similarities between Christian orthodoxy and ancient "heathen" philosophy. Finally, the entries show the development of Edwards' thinking on the topics of the great treatises he would come to write during his years in Stockbridge.

Amy Plantinga Pauw is Henry P. Mobley, Jr. Professor of Doctrinal Theology, Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 23: The "Miscellanies", 1153–1360

  • Editor: Douglas A. Sweeney
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: xii, 764

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Throughout his ministerial career, Jonathan Edwards filled a series of private notebooks on a wide variety of theological topics, numbering his entries—nearly 1,400 of them—in sequence. With the publication of this, the fourth and final volume of miscellanies, readers have access for the first time to the most comprehensive printed edition of Edwards' "Miscellanies," the most controversial and commonly cited of his sets of private notebooks and his most sustained, serious effort to rough out his theological reflections. Edwards began the nine-book series in 1722, while still in his late teens, and added to it throughout his last thirty-five prolific years. As one who thought "with his pen in his hand," he used these intellectual workbooks to extend and clarify his ideas about an exceptionally wide range of issues and themes.

The entries in this volume cover the years from 1751 to 1758, a period during which Edwards faced a variety of difficult challenges while working at the Stockbridge Indian mission and served a short-lived presidency at Princeton, then known as the College of New Jersey. In these entries Edwards grapples with modern naturalism, critiques "generous doctrines," and attempts to bolster Reformed thought in the face of the Enlightenment. Through his meditations and argumentations, as well as his engagement with some of the chief religious and philosophical figures of the age, Edwards emerges as a thinker determined to put reason at the service of revelation.

The excellent index as well as the outstanding tour presented in the editor's introduction will allow any Edwards-enthusiast access to the prominent themes contained in these entries. . . . This volume is an excellent resource for Edwards specialists and historians of American Christianity and American theology. Non-specialist fans of Edwards who wish to take their understanding of this New England pastor to a deeper level will enjoy this glimpse into his personal studies. Douglas Sweeney's introductory essay superbly contextualizes Edwards' notes, providing a biography of this period, a survey of Edwards' main interlocutors, and a summary of the prominent themes throughout the notes. I highly recommend this volume.

—Robert W. Caldwell III, Southwestern Journal of Theology

Douglas A. Sweeney Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 26: Catalogues of Books

  • Editor: Peter J. Thuesen
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: x, 496

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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.

The conclusion of one of the great editorial projects in American letters, not to mention American religion. . . . Although an edition of Edwards' reading lists—his 'Catalogues of Books'—may seem to bear as much potential for excitement as my collected fifth-grade spelling-papers, what Peter Thuesen's treatment of the 720 entries in the Catalogue offers us is a geography of the mind of Jonathan Edwards. It is a superb example of the scholarly editor's work, a major contribution to the intellectual history of the eighteenth century, and an indispensable adjunct to any understanding of Edwards' life as a theologian and philosopher. . . . The Catalogue is a revelation of an insatiable intellectual curiosity, at a time when a single mind could still aspire to universal knowledge.

—Allen C. Guelzo, Books and Culture

Peter J. Thuesen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.

About Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards was born in 1703 in East Windsor, Connecticut to Timothy and Esther Edwards. He began his formal education at Yale College in 1716, where he encountered the Calvinism that had influenced his own Puritan upbringing. In 1727, he was ordained as minister of the church in Northampton, Massachusetts. The First Great Awakening began in Edwards’ church three years later, which prompted Edwards to study conversion and revival within the context of Calvinism. During the revival, Edwards preached his most famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and penned many of his most popular works, including The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, and The Life of David Brainerd. When the revival subsided, the church of Northampton became increasingly suspect of Edwards’ strict requirements for participation in the sacraments. Edwards left Northampton in 1750 to become a minister at a missions church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1757, Edwards reluctantly became president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University), where he hoped to complete two major works—one that expanded his treatise on the history of redemption, and the other on the harmony of the Old and New Testaments. His writing ambitions were interrupted by his death in 1758, when he died of complications stemming from a smallpox inoculation.

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