The End of An Era

Within the next few weeks, the last volume of the Yale University Press’ The Works of Jonathan Edwards will finally be published. Begun in 1957 under the general editorship of Perry Miller, the series has taken a full 51 years to reach completion. Even with this volume, however, not all of the material produced by Edwards will find its way into print.

Vol. 26 (which is really the 27th volume because the “Blank Bible” was so large it took up two huge tomes and was designated vol. 24a and 24b), which is edited by Peter Thuesen, includes, inter alia, Edwards’ reading catalog. This is a fascinating list of books Edwards wanted to obtain. Despite what you might think, there actually are interesting questions that arise in the interpretation of a book list. Does a line through a title indicate that Edwards obtained the book? Does it indicate he actually read it? These are questions worth pondering as we wrestle with the intellectual influences on Edwards outside the Bible itself.

Many of you will be put off by the mere cost of this volume and its companions in the Yale set. Each volume sells for about $100.00 US. However, I would suggest that you might save on eye damage by reading this edition as over against other sets where the print is so small you need nuclear powered magnification so you do not go blind. Not to mention the psychological wear and tear that comes from never turning a page! Just note, these are volumes usually reserved for those who are serious about Edwards studies.

As I already noted, not everything the New England theologian-philosopher-pastor-missionary wrote will find its way into this letterpress edition of Edwards’ works. However you can find all of his writings at the website of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. Or rather, I should say, you will find there a work in progress. Keep your eyes on that site as it expands to include even more material. The letterpress edition of Edwards’ works will be limited to 26 volumes, but the website will be growing by leaps and bounds.

Jonathan Edwards is worth reading as he was a profound thinker who endeavored to bring all glory to the Triune God of Scripture. Edwards is always worth reading.

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