Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Finished Lecture Notes on Jonathan Edwards Course

Today, I finished the lecture notes for my upcoming fall 2013 course, "Jonathan Edwards's Life, Thought, and Legacy in American Religious Culture." As mentioned before, the three required texts for the course are Jonathan Edwards: A Life, A Jonathan Edwards Reader, and Jonathan Edwards, Religious Tradition, and American Culture.

I hope to supplement the material in these three books with lectures that I have put together from reading such books as Ava Chamberlain's The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle: Marriage, Murder, and  Madness in the Family of Jonathan Edwards, Patricia Tracy's Jonathan Edwards, Pastor: Religion and Society in Eighteenth-Century Northampton, The Princeton Companion to Jonathan Edwards, The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards, and several specialized journal articles on Edwards. The book that I have found the most helpful on Edwards's thought is Gerald McDermott's and Michael McClymond's newly-published The Theology of Jonathan Edwards.

McDermott and McClymond have done a great service for scholars and laypeople interested in Edwards by writing forty-five chapters in which they have provided syntheses of various aspects to Edwards's life, thought, and legacy. In essence, they have done all the grunt work that it would take to research the major themes on Edwards, supplying footnotes that identify the best secondary sources on specific topics. I also appreciate how McDermott and McClymond have written these chapters in clear prose, making the book accessible to Edwards scholars as well as non-specialists. Since many of the chapters are around ten pages or so, it is easy to read a little bit at a time without feeling that you have to commit to large blocks of time to finish a particular topic. On a per-page basis, the book is a bargain at around $50 in hardback for a text that is close to 800 pages in length.

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