Monday, August 31, 2015

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale Edition (26 vols.)

I recently purchased the Yale Works of Jonathan Edwards for my Logos platform and I am thrilled to have it. The purchase of the Yale edition of Edwards' works represents a major new investment and expansion of a burgeoning interest of mine: Jonathan Edwards, Reformed theology, and the Puritans. Of course, Edwards was not technically a Puritan (born over 100 years too late), but many think of him as the "last Puritan" which is perhaps apt.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) noted theologian and religious leader of 18th-century New England, left his impression on theological thinking not only in this country but throughout the entire Protestant world. In terms of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, not since 1874 has a collected edition of his works been printed. The Yale edition, undertaken with the generous support of the Bollingen Foundation, has been launched with the purpose not only of republishing all of the printed works of Edwards but also of publishing the massive manuscript materials in which much of Edwards' most profound thinking and finest prose have been concealed.

Joel Beeke's Meet the Puritans has a helpful chapter which breaks down 23 of the volumes in this collection (vols. 24-26 had not yet been published when MtP was printed). I've added descriptions of Edwards volumes 24-26. Here's Beeke's synopsis:

1. Freedom of the Will (494 pages; 1957, 1985), edited by Paul Ramsey (see below).

2. Religious Affections (526 pages; 1959, 1987), edited by John E. Smith (see below).

3. Original Sin (448 pages; 1970), edited by Clyde A. Holbrook. The controversy over human depravity that raged during the eighteenth century was an important phase of America’s philosophical understanding of human nature and its potential. In defending the hated doctrine of original sin, Edwards battled a heresy that had already engulfed much of Europe and was now threatening America. The Enlightenment, hailed as man’s greatest achievement, had nearly eradicated the notion of original sin.

John Taylor’s treatise, perhaps the most impressive assault on the doctrine of original sin, haunted Edwards throughout his years at Stockbridge. Ultimately, he wrote this rebuttal to Taylor, focusing on three major issues: the fact and nature of original sin, its cause and transmission, and God’s responsibility for humanity’s sinfulness.

First published in 1758, The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended went through at least thirteen editions and was later included in all collections of Edwards’s works. The text of the first edition has been adapted to the standards of the Yale series in making full use of all relevant manuscript materials. Holbrook’s introduction and notations provide detailed information about the sources, development, and reception of the work.

4. The Great Awakening (595 pages; 1972), edited by C.C. Goen. These writings on the Great Awakening theologically defined the revival tradition in America. Moving from descriptions of “the surprising work of God” in conversion to a quest for the essence of true religion, Edwards threads his way through increasing controversies over “errors in doctrine and disorders in practice.” He looks for an authentic core of evangelical experience, then examines it in light of biblical faith and experiential insight to defend it against overheated zealots and rationalistic critics. His writings (with related correspondence), presented here for the first time in accurate critical text, document a movement so significant that it has been called the American “national conversion.”

In the introduction, Goen explains the Arminian threat to which Edwards responded at the onset of the Awakening, and traces Edwards’s understanding of vital religion as it developed in the context of revivalism. Goen also sheds light on little-known aspects of “A Faithful Narrative” and describes the haphazard way in which that important work reached its audience.

5. Apocalyptic Writings (501 pages; 1977), edited by Stephen J. Stein. This is the first published text of Edwards’s private commentary on the book of Revelation. Written over a period of thirty-five years, Edwards’s notebook reveals his lifelong fascination with apocalyptic speculation (including its bizarre aspects) and his conviction about the usefulness of its visions in the life of the church. It was no small wonder, then, that Edwards viewed the sinking of several Spanish ships in the Atlantic as foreshadowing of the demise of the papal Antichrist.

This volume also contains the first complete edition since the eighteenth century of “Humble Attempt” (1748), which was Edwards’s response to the decline in religious fervor after the Great Awakening. In his introduction and commentary, Stein examines the development of Edwards’s apocalyptic interest in the events of his time, showing how Edwards’s private judgments on the book of Revelation affected his pastoral and theological activity. The texts and the introduction present a much-ignored facet of Edwards’s thought.

6. Scientific and Philosophical Writings (433 pages; 1980), edited by Wallace E. Anderson. This volume contains two notebooks by Edwards titled “Natural Philosophy” and “The Mind,” as well as a number of shorter manuscripts on science and philosophy. Several of the shorter papers have not previously been published, notably Edwards’s letter on the flying spider, an essay on light rays, and a brief but important set of philosophical notes written near the end of his life.

Each major work in this volume and group of related writings are preceded by a detailed discussion of manuscript sources and dates. Anderson makes these the basis for a revised account of the chronology of Edwards’s early writings and a deeper investigation of their biographical and historical context. Also included are a new appraisal of Edwards’s efforts and achievements in science and an analysis of the development of his philosophical views. Anderson concludes that Edwards was an enthusiastic, though untrained, investigator in the Newtonian tradition who grappled with the major metaphysical problems raised by this tradition. The papers reveal Edwards’s fertile mind that earned him recognition as the leading eighteenth-century philosopher-theologian.

7. The Life of David Brainerd (620 pages; 1985), edited by Norman Pettit (see below).

8. Ethical Writings (791 pages; 1989), edited by Paul Ramsey. In this comprehensive theological and philosophical work, Ramsey includes the two major ethical writings of Edwards. The series of sermons Edwards preached in 1738, known as “Charity and Its Fruits,” and “Two Dissertations: I. Concerning the End for Which God Created the World; II. On the Nature of True Virtue,” provide the principles of Edwards’s ethical reflections.

9. A History of the Work of Redemption (594 pages; 1989), edited by John F. Wilson. In 1739, Edwards preached a series of thirty sermons based on Isaiah 51:8. He intended to develop these into a major work explaining God’s progressive redemption of the world. This modern, authoritative text of those sermons is based on a new transcript of Edwards’s preaching booklets.

The first sermon deals with the doctrine and design of the work of redemption. The next eleven sermons show how God’s redemption became increasingly clear throughout the Old Testament era. Sermons 13-17 trace redemption in Christ’s life and ministry, and the next three sermons follow redemption through the rest of the New Testament era. Sermons 21-25 show God’s redemptive work through church history, from Constantine until Edwards’s day, focusing on Christ’s battles with the Antichrist. Sermons 26-29 offer Edwards’s eschatological views of what will happen until the fall of the Antichrist. The concluding sermon focuses on the character of God, the happiness of the church, and the misery of the wicked. The work as a whole is reminiscent of Augustine’s City of God.

10. Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723 (670 pages; 1992), edited by Wilson H. Kimmach. This work contains the complete texts of twenty-three sermons preached by Edwards during the first years of his career. The previously unpublished sermons reveal one of the least explored periods of his life and thought. These fully annotated manuscripts include an editor’s preface that combines new information with fresh readings of related texts. The sermons cover topics such as man’s slavery to sin, poverty of spirit, and the necessity of true repentance as well as Christian happiness, Christian holiness, and Christian liberty.

11. Typological Writings (349 pages; 1993), edited by Wallace E. Anderson and Mason L. Lowance, Jr. This volume offers a comprehensive, readable, and annotated text of Edwards’s notebooks titled “Images of Divine Things,” “Types Notebook,” and “Types of the Messiah” (no. 1069 of the “Miscellanies”). These works show how Edwards developed his theory of typological exegesis. That theory helped him understand the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as well as correspondence between the natural and the spiritual worlds.

Edwards’s theories of typology have fascinated scholars from a variety of fields. These documents clearly show Edwards’s epistemology and his involvement in contemporary philosophical and exegetical trends. Introductions to the documents explain Edwards’s typology within the context of his period, and clarify some of the problems caused by his use of the types throughout his career. They also discuss his philosophical defenses of types against the claims of materialists, deists, and rationalists.

12. Ecclesiastical Writings (596 pages; 1994), edited by David D. Hall. This volume includes four documents of Edwards on the nature of the church. They show his views on ecclesiology, congregational autonomy, ordination, and admission to church membership and the sacraments. The first document, reprinted here for the first time since the eighteenth century, is Edwards’s defense of fellow Hampshire County ministers in the Robert Breck controversy of 1735-36.

The other three documents relate Edwards’s efforts to restrict admission to the sacraments at Northampton in 1749-50. Those actions ultimately led to his dismissal as pastor. “An Humble Inquiry” explains Edwards’s reasons for refuting the open admission policy of his grandfather and predecessor, Solomon Stoddard. “Misrepresentations Corrected” is Edwards’s response to the criticisms of his cousin Solomon Williams on Humble Inquiry. The third work is Edwards’s untitled narrative, available before only in Sereno Dwight’s 1829 edition. It offers details on Edwards’s final conflict with his Northampton congregation.

The introduction by Hall puts these writings in their theological and historical contexts, highlighting Edwards’s Puritan, Congregational heritage and the tensions between lay and clerical piety. It also reassesses Edwards’s relationship with Stoddard in light of Edwards’s experience during and after the Great Awakening.

13. The Miscellanies a–500 (596 pages; 1994), edited by Thomas A. Schafer. This is the first published collection of Edwards’s theological notebooks, called the “Miscellanies” or “commonplace books.” Throughout his ministerial career, Edwards filled private notebooks with writings on a variety of theological topics, numbering his entries—some 1,360 of them—in sequence. The entries in volume 13 were written during the early years of Edwards’s ministry (1722-31) and cover a variety of subjects. They reveal Edwards’s initial thoughts on topics such as original sin, free will, the Trinity, and God’s purpose in creation. Many entries also cover subjects not included in the main body of Edwards’s published writings. This volume includes Edwards’s index to the entire “Miscellanies.” This becomes a theological document in its own right in showing the relationship between the various components of Edwards’s theological system.

The editor’s introduction includes an essay linking Edwards’s growing body of entries in the “Miscellanies” with the main events in his life and career. It shows how, even before tutoring at Yale in 1724, Edwards had developed certain fundamental positions and distinctive elements in his theology. The introduction ends with an explanation of the methodology used to establish the chronology of the “Miscellanies.” The conclusions of this research are summarized in a chart that shows the chronological order of the miscellanies from “a to 500,” as well as the sermons, essays, and other manuscripts that Edwards wrote prior to 1731.

14. Sermons and Discourses, 1723-1729 (575 pages; 1996), edited by Kenneth P. Minkema. This book includes previously unpublished manuscript sermons from a crucial period in Edwards’s life: the years between the completion of his master’s degree at Yale College and the death of Solomon Stoddard. These sermons show the intellectual and professional development of young Edwards during his pastorate at Bolton, Connecticut; his Yale tutorship; and his work at Northampton. The sermons cover themes such as the pleasantness of religion, nobleness of mind, hearing the Word profitably, the threefold work of the Holy Spirit, and the torments of hell.

In his introduction, Minkema links the details of Edwards’s emerging career with concerns expressed in the sermons. He shows how Edwards addressed local and provincial concerns as well as the great theological debates of his day. He also shows how Edwards struggled to work out his innovative concept of “excellency” and to develop his definition of conversion as “spiritual light.”

15. Notes on Scripture (674 pages; 1998), edited by Stephen J. Stein. This is the first complete edition of the private notebooks on Scripture that Edwards compiled over a period of nearly thirty-five years. Notes on Scripture confirms the centrality of the Bible in Edwards’s thought. It balances earlier writings that appeared to emphasize scientific and philosophical elements while overlooking Scripture. In this critical edition, entries appear in the order that Edwards wrote them, beginning with a short commentary on Genesis 2:10-14 that he wrote in 1724, and ending with his last entry (on the Song of Solomon), written two years before his death.

Edwards’s entries cover the whole Bible, revealing his creativity in interpreting the text as well as his fascination with typology. The notebook also documents Edwards’s relationship with the intellectual trends of his day, particularly his response to the challenge of the Enlightenment regarding biblical revelation. Stein’s introduction reveals Edwards as a true exegete in biblical commentary within the world of eighteenth-century Western thought.

16. Letters and Personal Writings (854 pages; 1998), edited by George S. Claghorn. This volume contains all the letters of Edwards along with his personal writings. For more than three decades, Claghorn scoured America, Great Britain, and Scotland for these letters and documents. The result is a fascinating compendium of 235 letters, including 116 never before published or reprinted since Edwards’s death, and four autobiographical texts—Edwards’s meditation “On Sarah Pierpont,” his future wife; “Diary”; “Resolutions”; and “Personal Narrative.”

These writings reveal the private side of Edwards: his relations with parents, siblings, college classmates, friends, and family, as well as interactions with the political, religious, and educational leaders of his day. Included are letters that he wrote to Samuel Hopkins, Benjamin Colman, George Whitefield, Isaac Chauncy, Joseph Bellamy, Thomas Clap, Thomas Gillespie, John Brainerd, Thomas Foxcroft, Timothy Dwight, and Aaron Burr. The new documents include Edwards’s only known statement on slavery as well as letters showing Edwards’s interest in Native Americans and his efforts on their behalf.

17. Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733 (480 pages; 1999), edited by Mark Valeri. When he became pastor of the Northampton church, Edwards turned his attention to the religious and social activities of his congregation, shaping his preaching to practical, everyday occurrences in the lives of his congregants. This volume contains eighteen sermons that Edwards delivered in Northampton from 1730 through 1733, including such classics as “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence” and “A Divine and Supernatural Light,” along with many previously unpublished sermons.

The sermons show Edwards’s development as a preacher and theologian. They provide unique insights into the development of themes that would one day develop into mature theological thought, such as the viciousness of the unregenerate life, the importance of evangelical humiliation as a religious exercise, and the necessity of a genuine conversion from worldliness to godliness.

18. The Miscellanies, 501-832 (578 pages; 2000), edited by Ava Chamberlain. This book, the second of four volumes devoted to “Miscellanies,” contains his entries from July 1731 to approximately January 1740, the eve of the Great Awakening. They record Edwards’s thoughts as he defended orthodox Calvinism, took a leadership role in colonial church politics, and became a crusader for revival in the Connecticut River Valley of 1734 and 1735.

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

19. Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738 (849 pages; 2001), edited by Ava Chamberlain. According to Chamberlain, Edwards mastered his preaching style and content between 1734 and 1738, while experiencing the first revival of his ministry and its aftermath. Edwards delivered probably four hundred sermons and lectures during that time. Less than half of those have survived, but the ones we have cover various theological doctrines, pastoral life, conversion, and, in due time, declension.

This volume also includes Edwards’s account of the Northampton revival, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God, published in 1737 in London and Edinburgh. Within a year, the work was reprinted, issued in Boston in three printings, and translated into German. Finally, this volume also includes Edwards’s Discourses on Various Important Subjects, based on five sermons about the Awakening.

20. The Miscellanies, 833-1152 (592 pages; 2002), edited by Amy Plantinga Pauw. These are the notebook entries Edwards wrote during the tumultuous years of 1740-1751. During this time, Edwards led his congregation through the Great Awakening, which resulted in a series of controversies with his Northampton congregation that eventually led to his dismissal.

21. Writings on the Trinity, Grace, and Faith (592 pages; 2003), edited by Sang Hyun Lee. In this collection of writings drawn from his essays and topical notebooks, Edwards deals with key Christian doctrines. The volume includes long-established treatises of Edwards, newly edited from the original manuscripts, as well as several smaller documents never published before; in some cases, these documents reveal new aspects of his theology that still need to be studied.

22. Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742 (608 pages; 2003), edited by Harry S. Stout, Nathan O. Hatch, and Kyle P. Farley. The sermons and discourses in this volume, preached from 1739 to 1742, chart the rise and decline of the Great Awakening in Northampton and beyond. Several sermons included in this volume have never been printed before; also, the transcript of the original manuscript of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is reproduced for the first time, along with the text of its first printed edition.

23. The Miscellanies, 1153-1360 (776 pages; 2004), edited by Douglas A. Sweeney. This fourth and final volume of miscellanies cover Edwards’s final years, from 1751 to 1758, a period when Edwards faced the challenges of ministering at the Stockbridge Indian mission and made his transition to the presidency at Princeton. In these entries, Edwards responds to modern naturalism and the Enlightenment, showing us how to make reason subservient to the Scriptures.

24. The Blank Bible, (1472 pages; 2006), edited by Stephen Stein. In 1730, Jonathan Edwards acquired a book-like, leather-bound manuscript containing an interleaved printed edition of the King James Version of the Bible. Over the next three decades, Edwards proceeded to write in the manuscript more than five thousand notes and entries relating to biblical texts (though paradoxically he called the manuscript his “Blank Bible”). Only a fraction of the entries has ever been published. This volume presents a complete edition of the “Blank Bible” accompanied by an informative introduction, multiple appendices, and an extensive index. This volume, perhaps the most unusual in Edwards’ oeuvre, brings to light more clearly than ever before the full scope of his creative investment in biblical studies.

25. Sermon and Discourse, 1743-1758, (779 pages; 2006), edited by Wilson H. Kimnach. This wide-ranging volume covers the final fifteen of the thirty-three years that Jonathan Edwards preached and includes some of his greatest sermons--including his Farewell Sermons to his Northampton congregation. The period is defined by Edwards' inventive strategies to improvise during the delivery of his sermons. Considering dependence on the written text in the pulpit to be a serious failing, he devised a double-columned, outlined format for his sermon manuscripts and continued to use it for the rest of his life. Sermons from this period also include those preached to Mahican and Mohawk Indians at the mission post of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Edwards’ various writings of 1743-58 map the complex terrain of his spiritual, intellectual, and professional life after the Great Awakening. He deals with topics ranging from the spiritual role of youth in the community to the struggles over communion in his Northampton congregation to the war with the French and their Indian allies.

26. Catalogues of Book, (496 pages; 2008), edited by Peter J. Thuesen. 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.