Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Jonathan Edwards Study Bible

Robert Caldwell makes some interesting comments about Vol. 24 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Yale Series) in a recent review essay. Explaining that this volume "showcases Edwards' unique notebook, what he called the 'Blank Bible,' which contains thousands of exegetical observations on a multitude of texts throughout the Bible," he writes,
One might say that this notebook represents the closest thing we have to a "Jonathan Edwards Study Bible."
Caldwell notes that many will be surprised by what they discover in these annotations, as "we find in Edwards very little awareness of a division between exegesis and theology." But, this is not because "Edwards was a sloppy exegete; rather, it is merely an example of how an eighteenth century theologian interpreted the bible." Thus,
Edwards' example challenges Bible students today not only to master the nuts and bolts of exegesis, but also to become proficient in the art of theological interpretation.
Caldwell observes later that "as Edwards' popularity continues to grow, so too do the distortions of who he really was and what he really taught." He concludes his review of vols. 24 and 25 of The Works by arguing that
These volumes, if read and studied, will go a long way in aiding to correct these misconceptions and will allow us better to understand, appreciate, and be challenged by the real Edwards of history.
 —Robert W. Caldwell, "Review Essay of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 24 & 25," in SWJT 52.2 (Spring 2010): 166-71.

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