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7 “Must Read” Books on Jonathan Edwards

Keeping up with books, articles, blog posts, and podcasts-not to mention conferences- about New England pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards seems like a nearly impossible task. The noted Edwards annotated bibliographer M. X. Lesser cataloged over 4,000 titles through 2005. That was 9 years ago! New items appear regularly. However, to get the would-be Edwards reader started, I list here 7 titles that I would recommend.

  1. Jonathan Edwards: A Life — George Marsden. This is the standard biography of Edwards and I expect it will remain so for many years to come. My East of Eden colleague David Owen Filson agrees with me so it must be so.
  2. Jonathan Edwards: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought — Stephen J. Nichols. This book is the first book I would read if I have never read Edwards or anything about him. It is clearly written, easily understood, and covers all the essentials. Stephen is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, so it has to be good, right?!
  3. A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards — John Piper and Justin Taylor, editors. This book is the result of one of the Desiring God Ministries pastor’s conferences and the various essays are critically appreciative of Edwards.
  4. God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards — John Piper and Jonathan Edwards. This is one excellent book! Really. I mean it. Nick Batzig, my compadre, thinks this is top notch. John Piper offers a biographical account of how he came to appreciate Edwards and then provides extremely helpful annotated notes to Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World.
  5. The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards — John Carrick. This is a very helpful analysis of Edwards’ Puritan plain style preaching.
  6. Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God’s Love — Kyle Strobel, editor. This is an annotated version of Edwards’ series of sermons on 1st Corinthians 13 which culminated in his “Heaven is a World of Love” sermon. Kyle Strobel is a new and up and coming Edwards scholar.
  7. The Theology of Jonathan Edwards — Michael McClymond and Gerlad McDermott. This is now the standard treatment of Edwards’ thought. It is, frankly, a mixed bag. It gets Edwards right on some things and wrong on others. The authors take me to task in a few footnotes, so I am not unbiased.

There are many other excellent books I could recommend. Many of them are the more heavy academic type and if there is interest, let me know and I will be happy to plug some of those.

 

 

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