Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Writings on the Trinity, Grace, and Faith

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Writings on the Trinity, Grace, and Faith

Article excerpt

The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Writings on the Trinity, Grace, and Faith. Edited by Sang Hyun Lee. The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 21. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. xii + 566 pp. 0 $0 950 .0 00 (cloth).

The Yale edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards is almost complete. Twenty-seven volumes are projected to be completed in the early part of this decade. This volume, the twenty-first, appears in an auspicious year, 2003, the 300th anniversary of the birth of Edwards, described by earlier generations of American scholars as "the greatest American philosopher." Perhaps in anticipation of this anniversary, a steady stream of publications is continuing to bring new insights into the "sage of Northampton." This scholarly interest has exposed previously neglected dimensions of his thought and raised the possibilities of critical reappropriations of his theology, or at least his method, in these postmodern times. The neglected dimensions include recognizing that he was not simply restating reformed thought, whether John Calvin's, Francois Turretin's, or even Petrus van Maastricht's. Rather, he was creatively doing theology in his New England context, working out his reformed thought by placing his inherited Augustinianism in critical conversation with, and appropriation of, early Enlightenment thought, because he had a prescient comprehension of the implications of rationalism for Christian faith. Thus, for example, works by Robert E. Brown and (American Episcopalian) Gerald R. McDermott expose and analyze-in slightly differing contexts, and of course on differing subjects-Edwards's critical appropriation of select enlightenment themes and methods.

More problematic has been the relevance of Edwards's theology and ethics for the present. Indeed, so haunting have been the cultural aftershocks of the "sermon that New England would never forget," namely "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," preached at Enfield, Massachusetts, in 1741, that many people, including scholars, have avoided exploring the theological inheritance that Edwards left to us, his rather unwilling descendants.

Sang Hyun Lee of Princeton Theological Seminary has placed us all in his debt, not only by ably editing this volume, but also by providing a most thorough and insightful introduction. This volume contains Edwards's thought on the nature of God, God's love, and human faith, all newly edited, annotated, and enriched with appropriate commentary. …

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