Going Deeper With Jonathan Edwards


Jonathan Edwards was a voluminous writer, which can make the prospect of reading his works intimidating. In 2008 Yale University Press completed the definitive edition of his writings. It took twenty-six volumes. Over this year I have written a series on some of the shorter and more accessible works of Edwards to help those who would like to begin reading him. I want to complete this series by offering suggestions for those with a desire to go into greater depth in their reading of Edwards.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series from Yale University Press would be the natural place to go for the
most in depth scholarly treatment of his writings, but the size and cost of set this would place it out of reach for most home libraries. However it would pay to find out if a library near you has them. For the greatest quantity of the writings of Edwards at a size and price that is within range for the average person, the best choice is the two volume set of The Works of Jonathan Edwards published by Banner of Truth. This is a reprint of an 1834 edition. It contains all the major works of Edwards, including his great theological works on Freedom of the Will and Original Sin, as well as a number of sermons, his writings on revival, and his biography of missionary David Brainerd. A bonus of this edition is the extensive biography of Edwards by his great-grandson Sereno Edwards Dwight. It incorporates numerous unabridged letters and documents, providing an in depth account of the life of Edwards.

An obvious drawback of this edition is that it has tiny print. The print size must have been a considered decision. A review in Christianity Today said, “It would take twenty the print is small, it is readable. It makes a wealth of material available in a compact form. For those who would like a selection from the writings of Edwards that covers the range of his work, I would recommend two books. The first is A Jonathan Edwards Reader, edited by John E. Smith, Harry S. Stout, and Kenneth P. Minkema. This book is significant because the editors were part of the team that produced the Yale edition of Edwards’s works. They wanted to publish “a new and comprehensive selection of Edwards’ public and private writings that would represent something of the breadth and depth of the larger corpus under our direction.” The selections included were based on suggestions they received from Edwards scholars in the U.S., Britain, Canada, and Australia. The selections in the book are divided into two major sections, one representing the public Edwards (his printed works) and his personal life (letters and family papers).

I would also recommend The Essential Jonathan Edwards by Owen Strachan and Douglas A. Sweeney. The authors are both Evangelical professors of theology. This book provides a biography of Edwards interspersed with key quotations from his works. The authors explain their intention on this way: “We have a keen interest in helping normal Christian people like us to learn from and live like Edwards.” The book features a Forward by John Piper.

The writings of Jonathan Edwards are a rich source of inspiration and merit a lifetime of study. I hope my articles will encourage others to begin the journey.

Healing In His Wings
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