Tag Archives: Yale

Edwards texts return to Yale

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.”

–Daniel Silliman

Edit Jonathan Edwards

Volunteer editors are wanted for a new project that will make more of Jonathan Edwards’ sermons — some of which have not been studied since they were first preached more than 250 years ago — widely available.

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale has announced the launch of the “Global Accelerated Sermon Editing Project” this week, and is inviting scholars, pastors, graduate students and interested lay people to help edit transcripts of 750 sermons.

According to the Center, there are about 1,200 manuscripts of Edwards sermons that have survived from the 18th century. Of those, 750 have been transcribed. The literal transcriptions replicate, as much as possible, the peculiarities of the originals.  Irregular line length, spelling, shorthand, etc., have been maintained from the originals, which means the texts are difficult for the modern reader. Edwards’ sermons were often written on scraps of paper, with inconsistent and archaic spelling, such as “alwaies” for “always,” and a lack of punctuation. The aim of this new effort is to edit the sermons to make them more accessible, and then to make the edited sermons widely available online and in print-on-demand volumes.

To do that, volunteers are needed.

Volunteers will use the Edwards Centers online software, and submit edited texts for review by the Jonathan Edwards Center, which is led by Kenneth P. Minkema, executive editor and director, and Adriaan C. Neele, associate editor and director. The edited sermons will go through a review-and-revision process, the staff working with the volunteer editors, and then the volunteer editors will have the option of drafting a head note summarizing the sermon and highlighting interesting features for future scholars. The work of the volunteers will be acknowledged in the online and print editions of the sermons.

This is your opportunity, the Center at Yale says, “to work with an original Edwards text that has not been heard since he first preached it.”

The editing project has set a goal of 50 sermons edited in the first year.

Those interested should direct inquiries to: edwards@yale.edu.


— Daniel Silliman