Edwards among the theologians and the political philosophers

There are two new titles of interest, both putting Jonathan Edwards into new contexts and perspectives.

51b6qY+1Z2L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The first is The Ecumenical Edwards: Jonathan Edwards and the Theologians, a collection of essays edited by Biola University’s Kyle C. Strobel. The essays are written by scholars from a variety of religious traditions. Each puts Edwards in conversation with a different theologian, from Thomas Aquinas and Gregory of Nyssa to Karl Barth and Wolfhart Pannenberg.

The book has a blurb from George Marsden, who writes:

“The Ecumenical Edwards offers a treasure trove of insights on the relationship of one of the greatest theologians in the Reformed tradition to the grand traditionsof Christian theology as represented by Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and other Protestant thinkers. Here is an all-star international ecumenical line-up of analysts who are critical as well as sympathetic in assessing Edwards’s contributions to discussions of some of the most profound theological issues.”

The second book is by Jeff Jay Stone, titled Mysteries of Government: The Political Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards.

81ni89SeRaL._SL1500_A revised dissertation written at the University of Dallas, Stone’s work has long been cited in the literature, but is only now widely available as an ebook. Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott, for instance, cited Stone to support the claim that “Edwards in fact cared deeply about civil and public life, and developed elaborate conceptions of how life in the public square ought to be conducted.”

This work treats Edwards as a political philosopher, looking especially at Edwards’ reading of John Locke.

“The few occasions on which Edwards does speak of politics,” writes Stone, “reveal a compeling particularity: he has indeed thought very seriously about politics, but has encountered a problem which he does not clearly enunciate. However, the problem is no less evident for not having been mentioned, and the solution–which is explicit–gives us new insight to the nature of Edwards’ thought as a whole.”

Both books are available now.

— Daniel Silliman

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