From the JEC Blog

Archive for October, 2015

Inaugural Issue of Edwardseana

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has posted the inaugural issue of Edwardseana. This is the first of what we hope will be an annual newsletter that will highlight important events and publications that relate to the Center’s mission and work.

Edwards the Exegete – 30% Discount

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is pleased to announce a discount on Edwards the Exegete, Doug Sweeney’s recent monograph on the biblical interpretation of Jonathan Edwards from Oxford University Press. Oxford has permitted the Center to offer their 30% discount to the readers of the Center’s blog. You may order here using the promotion code AAFLYG6 to save 30% at check out.

Call for Papers: JEC Japan

The Jonathan Edwards Center Japan (JEC Japan) invites scholars and students to submit paper proposals to be presented at the International Conference on the campus of International Christian University, Tokyo, to be held on March 26-27, 2016.

The theme of the Conference will be “The Transcultural Impact of Jonathan Edwards,” though a broad range of topics not limited to the overall theme are welcome. The abstract should be around 200 words and sent with a short C.V. to JEC Japan by November 30, 2015. A 40-minute slot will be assigned to each presenter at the Conference.

A selection of Conference papers will be included for publication in a special edition of the Journal Humanities: Christianity and Culture.

Participants are expected to arrive by 6:00 pm. of March 25th for registration and reception. 15 twin rooms in the on-campus accommodation facility are reserved for those coming from overseas, free of charge, for 3 nights from March 25th to 27th.

There will be a registration fee of 5,000 JPY to be paid at registration. Meals at the University Cafeteria will cost 500 JPY for breakfast, 1,000 for lunch, and 2,000 for dinner.

At present, the keynote speakers include Harry Stout, Adrian Neele, Doug Sweeney, Gerald McDermott, and Michael McClymond. Participants will attend from Korea, Singapore, Pakistan, Netherland, Poland, and within Japan.

For proposal submission and further information, please contact jecjapan@icu.ac.jp.

Anri Morimoto
Director, Jonathan Edwards Center Japan

Sweeney’s Booknotes: God-Haunted World: The Elemental Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Robert L. Boss, God-Haunted World: The Elemental Theology of Jonathan Edwards (privately printed, 2015)

51MvT-N6FtLDespite the frightening connotations of its eye-catching but nonetheless misleading title, this self-published monograph repays careful attention with a primer on what others have described as Edwards’ quest to reenchant the natural world in the age of the Enlightenment.

Its author started the project as a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Robert Caldwell at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (in Ft. Worth, Texas). In its current, published form, it appears on sturdy paper in an easy-to-read format, with insightful, summative side bars and 142 well-placed illustrations.

As Boss describes the book, it “is a visual exploration of the nexus between Scripture and Nature” in Edwards’ private manuscripts (p. 1). “In his personal notebooks and throughout his preaching and writing, Edwards unveils a God-haunted world,” the author explains, “in which we are surrounded by signs, symbols, and emblems that serve as windows to spiritual reality” (p. 3).

He focuses most closely on Edwards’ “Images of Divine Things,” a notebook on divine types found throughout the natural world. He categorizes this manuscript as an early modern emblem book that follows in the train of those by Bishop Joseph Hall, Ralph Austen, John Bunyan, Benjamin Keach, and the young Cotton Mather—all of whom read the physical world as a poetic composition symbolizing the truth and beauty of God, an effort in what Boss calls reinscripturation.

Why reinscripturation instead of the usual reenchantment? Because, Boss contends, Edwards labored “to recover the spiritual and distinctly biblical dimension of creation,” an effort often slighted in rehearsals of reenchantment. In fact, as Boss makes his case, Edwards’ reinscripturation of the natural world around him “is key to understanding the distinctively biblical and emblematic worldview evident within his emblem book ‘Images of Divine Things’” (p. 12). It is a key, in other words, to Edwards’ natural typology.

Boss is right about this. I recommend his book to everyone who is interested in typology and/or Edwards’ radically theocentric vision of the cosmos.