Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jonathan Edwards

So Jonathan Edwards was an amazing theologian. Not sure you could find many people to disagree with that statement. Not only was he a brain on legs, but he had such love for Jesus as to seek to put every single thing he learned into practice. Brain the size of a small planet, and massive heart beating for God's glory - this is the man to read!

But the thing I want to turn attention to here is: how do you get into him? How do you get to know what he thought, etc... I've been asked this quite a bit at college, so here's my thought.

If you think you don't want to get into Edwards, try reading this & this & this - three top tasters from DF. Then repent, and read on! :-))

At the risk of running contrary to my CS Lewis post, I'd certainly advise secondary literature first - but only those books which are seeped in JE's thought. So I'd start as follows:
  • Moody The God-Centred Life (IVP)
  • Piper & Taylor A God-Entranced Vision of All Things (Crossway)
  • Minkema et al The Jonathan Edwards Reader (Yale)
  • Murray A New Biography (Banner of Truth)
  • Marsden Jonathan Edwards (Yale)
The reasons: Moody has a PhD in Edwards from Cambridge, but the book is very readable (150 pages of IVP), giving a great, fair & challenging introduction to what JE would probably say today. Piper & Taylor take you on from that, with some brilliant summaries of JE's major works and overviews of his thought from guys like Piper, Packer, Dever & Helm. This means that the Reader is now worth spending time in. Marsden is excellent, but long - so I might read Murray first, to get my head round the basic overview. From this point on, there's more lists in the back of Piper & Taylor, which will guide you - particularly into modern editions of the sermons.

for me (and concurring with the good Dr Lloyd-Jones himself) it is into Religious Affections, and then the rest of the world of Edwards is there to be enjoyed...

Need it be said that the Yale editions are excellent, and available for £30 each through Solid Ground Books, for those of us who cannot manage the Banner of Truth's very very small print?



Blogger Ros said...

I found the Faithful Narrative of Surprising Conversions pretty accessible - and it's a nice way of getting some background to Edwards and bits of his theology as well as getting used to his style before attempting something a bit harder.

1:33 pm, October 19, 2006  
Blogger matthew said...

Or: do a dissertation on Owen. After that, Edwards is a delightfully accessible >;-}

5:56 pm, October 19, 2006  
Blogger thebluefish said...

Moody is very helpful. I'll press on straining my eyes with my banner editions..

11:26 pm, October 23, 2006  

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