They’ve been checked out for about 150 years, but now a dozen boxes of Jonathan Edwards texts are being returned to the library at Yale Divinity School.
The books were borrowed by Edwards Amasa Park, a professor at Andover Theological Seminary, in the mid 1800s. The exact date is unclear. Park apparently intended to write a biography of Edwards. He was interested especially in Edwards’s writings on natural philosophy. Park has been called “the last Edwardsian,” though there are surely some today who would dispute that. A Congregationalist theologian, Park also happened to be married to one of Edwards’s descendants. Perhaps it felt like the books belonged in the family. When the theologian died 1900, the books he’d borrowed just stayed at the Massachusetts seminary.
More than a century later, they’ve been returned.
As the New Haven Register reports, the small-but-significant collection is being reunited with the larger Yale collection. Andover Newton, struggling with the declines hitting many mainline seminaries in the U.S., formed a partnership with Yale several years ago. Part of the partnership is the merging of theological libraries, including the Edwards collection.
“It brings great relief,” Ken Mikema, director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale told to the New Haven paper. “I sleep better at night knowing these things are all reunited again.”