The Theology of Jonathan Edwards: Big New Book from Oxford

Paul Harvey

For you theologians and Jonathan Edwards-heads out there, here's a huge new book from Oxford that you definitely should check out, reviewed in most recent Choice. Below the review is a description and more information from the book's website:

McClymond, Michael J.  The theology of Jonathan Edwards, by Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott.  Oxford, 2012.  757p index afp ISBN 0-19-979160-0, $65.00; ISBN 9780199791606, $65.00. Reviewed in 2012jul CHOICE. The 45 chapters of this stunning book by McClymond (St. Louis Univ.) and McDermott (Roanoke College) are uniformly informative and illuminating. The authors' methodology pursues Edwards's ideas in their local settings and also draws them into conversation with the larger corpus of theology. This is in line with Edwards's intention to write a "history of the work of redemption," a comprehensive argument in a new form that his death prevented. A consistent refrain is that Edwards took up traditions and ideas and modified them with imaginative flair, while always remaining consistent with his reading of scripture and fidelity to Christ. Edwards's intellect is without parallel in American literary history, but his own conviction is that saving faith is built on the sense of "the beauty and amiableness" of God's love. This Augustinian centering on love enables his theology to cross bridges, in the authors' terms, from West to East, Protestant to Catholic, liberal to conservative, and onward to world religions. Sourced in his books, sermons, and lifelong notebooks (or miscellanies), and supported with thorough research of secondary works, this volume is absolutely necessary for any future scholarly work on Edwards. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. -- R. Ward, Georgetown College

From the book's website:

Scholars and laypersons alike regard Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) as North America's greatest theologian. The Theology of Jonathan Edwards is the most comprehensive survey of his theology yet produced and the first study to make full use of the recently-completed seventy-three-volume online edition of the Works of Jonathan Edwards. The book's forty-five chapters examine all major aspects of Edwards's thought and include in-depth discussions of the extensive secondary literature on Edwards as well as Edwards's own writings. Its opening chapters set out Edwards's historical and personal theological contexts. The next thirty chapters connect Edwards's theological loci in the temporally-ordered way in which he conceptualized the theological enterprise-beginning with the triune God in eternity with his angels to the history of redemption as an expression of God's inner reality ad extra, and then back to God in eschatological glory.

The authors analyze such themes as aesthetics, metaphysics, typology, history of redemption, revival, and true virtue. They also take up such rarely-explored topics as Edwards's missiology, treatment of heaven and angels, sacramental thought, public theology, and views of non-Christian religions. Running throughout the volume are what the authors identify as five basic theological constituents: trinitarian communication, creaturely participation, necessitarian dispositionalism, divine priority, and harmonious constitutionalism. Later chapters trace his influence on and connections with later theologies and philosophies in America and Europe. The result is a multi-layered analysis that treats Edwards as a theologian for the twenty-first-century global Christian community, and a bridge between the Christian West and East, Protestantism and Catholicism, conservatism and liberalism, and charismatic and non-charismatic churches.


  • Most Comprehensive single-volume book ever published on Edwards's thought.
  • Uses the freshly-completed 73-volume corpus of the Works of Jonathan Edwards (Yale).
  • The authors are internationally-recognized experts on Edwards and present him as a theologian for the 21st-century global church, whose thought is singularly capable of bridging between the Christian West and East, Protestantism and Catholicism, conservatism and liberalism, and charismatic and non-charismatic Christianity.


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