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.
- 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.
- 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?!
- 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.
- 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.
- The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards — John Carrick. This is a very helpful analysis of Edwards’ Puritan plain style preaching.
- 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.
- 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.