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Sweeney’s Booknotes: The Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia

Harry S. Stout, Kenneth P. Minkema, and Adriaan C. Neele, eds., The Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017).

EncyclopediaThe long-awaited Edwards Encyclopedia is here. With nearly 400 entries by 169 scholars, as well as a “Foreword” by George Marsden, it is a culmination of many years of labor in New Haven as well as the spread of Edwards studies during the past generation through a wide array of scholarly institutions around the world.

I and several of my students have contributed to this volume. In the interest of fair play, I will keep my comments brief.

This landmark volume features well-known scholars writing on topics about which they have already published books: Robert Brown on “Biblical Languages (Hebrew and Greek),” Ronald Story on “Charity,” Rhys Bezzant on “Ecclesiology,” Ava Chamberlain on “Elizabeth Tuttle Edwards (b. 1645),” Jan Stievermann on “German Pietism,” Thomas Kidd on “Great Awakening,” Sang Hyun Lee on “Habit,” Oliver Crisp on “Idealism,” Seng-Kong Tan on “Incarnation,” Gerald McDermott on “Islam,” Donald Whitney on “Piety,” Ray Yeo on “Regeneration,” Stephen Stein on “Scripture (Exegetical Sources),” David Kling on “Second Great Awakening,” Terrence Erdt on “Sense of the Heart,” Amy Plantinga Pauw on “Trinity,” and Stephen R. C. Nichols on “Typology,” for example.

Perhaps more importantly, it also features lesser-known, up-and-coming scholars treating topics on which they have learned a great deal: Allan Hedberg on “Aging,” Ryan Hoselton on “William Ames,” Joseph Tyrpak on “David Brainerd,” Reita Yazawa on “Covenant,” David Komline on “Sereno Edwards Dwight (1786-1850),” David Barshinger on “Hermeneutics,” Roy Mellor on “An Humble Inquiry (1749),” Craig Biehl on “Merit of Christ,” Daniel Cooley on “Edwards Amasa Park (1808-1900),” Jon Hinkson on “Providence,” Ryan Griffith on “Spiritual Gifts”—this list could go on and on.

Several contributors wrote many different entries–most importantly Ken Minkema, Associate Editor of the volume and Executive Editor of the Edwards Center at Yale.

As the editors have written in the volume’s “Introduction,” the Encyclopedia “fills an essential gap” in reference works about Edwards and his world. It corrects “certain stubborn errors or myths about Edwards’s life and those of his family and acquaintance[s].” It also provides “succinct synopses of topics large and small, well known and little known in Edwards’s life, as well as easily referenced sketches of the people and events of his times, any or all of which can be followed up in more depth by consulting the suggested readings at the end of each entry” (p. x).

Stout, Minkema, and Neele hope to publish an expanded, online version of this work, which will include new entries on subjects identified by readers as important to the study of Edwards’ life, times, and legacies in the future. So our thanks should go today both to those who have made this letterpress book possible and those who will engage and improve it in days ahead.

Invitation: Contribute to the Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia

[A note from Yale]

In December 2012 the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University announced that, in partnership with William Eerdmans Publishing Company, it will be producing A Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia. The volume, to be published in print and online, will be comprised of some 450 entries, or 300,000 words.

Over 75 scholars, PhD and ThM students from around the world have signed up to contribute to this unprecedented reference source for the growing audience of Edwards around the world. The JEC’s staff greatly anticipates working with contributors and presenting to readers what is sure to be a useful collection.

To expedite this project, the JEC has created a portal on its website, A New Encyclopedia [http://edwards.yale.edu/publication/encyclopedia], to solicit signing up for entries.  We cordially invite you and your students to write one or more listed but not assigned yet entries.

The entry should be written with an eye to Edwards’ particular view of the topic, or how the event or theme played a part in his life. Please do not use footnotes, but provide a selected bibliography of up to three sources at the end of the article.

Entries are due by June 15, 2014. We look forward to your response before May 1, 2013 (edwards@yale.edu)

With thanks,

Harry S. Stout, General Editor, A Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia, Chair and
Jonathan Edwards professor of American Religious History department Yale
University

For correspondence: Kenneth P. Minkema and Adriaan C. Neele, Associate
Editors (edwards@yale.edu)