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Edwards the Exegete

Biblical Interpretation and Anglo-Protestant Culture on the Edge of the Enlightenment

Douglas A. Sweeney

18 January 2018

ISBN: 9780190687496

408 pages

In Stock

Price: £29.49



Scholars have long recognized that Jonathan Edwards loved the Bible. But preoccupation with his role in Western "public" life and letters has resulted in a failure to see the significance of his biblical exegesis. Douglas A. Sweeney offers the first comprehensive history of Edwards' interpretation of the Bible.

  • First comprehensive treatment of Edwards' exegesis
  • Features scores of previously understudied exegetical manuscripts
  • Interprets Edwards' thought in relation to the history of the interpretation of Scripture (which is hardly ever done)
  • Offers an important reassessment of Edwards' place in the Enlightenment

About the Author(s)

Douglas A. Sweeney, Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought; Chair of the Department, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Douglas A. Sweeney is Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought, Chair of the Department, and Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has published widely on Edwards, early modern Protestant thought, and the history of evangelicalism. His books include two volumes in the Yale Edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (1999, 2004), Nathaniel Taylor, New Haven Theology, and the Legacy of Jonathan Edwards (2003), and The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement (2005). He is on the editorial board of Jonathan Edwards Studies.

Table of Contents

    Chapter One: The Biblical World of Jonathan Edwards
    Chapter Two: The Character of Scripture—and of Its Best Interpreters
    Chapter Three: The Harmony of the Old and New Testament
    Chapter Four: A Priest Forever After the Order of Melchisedec
    Chapter Five: The Excellency of Christ
    Chapter Six: Let Him Kiss Me with the Kisses of His Mouth
    Chapter Seven: The Grand Design of God
    Chapter Eight: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass
    Chapter Nine: The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth
    Chapter Ten: Accounted as One by the Judge
    Last Things


"[T]his publication is likely to become a standard volume in the field of Edwards studies ... From this text it is clear that any general assessment of Edwards and of his work must take into account the central place and function of his lifelong effort as an exegete and interpreter of the text of the Bible. Any study of Edwards that does not deal with that religious and professional preoccupation is seriously flawed." - Journal of Religion

"Sweeney has done the great service of poring over all Edwards' work on scripture in order to help his modern readers understand how he used these texts. His documentation in the endnotes is meticulous. The result is a clear and compelling contribution to the literature that all future interpreters of Edwards will have to take into account." - Oliver D. Crisp, Scottish Journal of Theology

"A very impressive achievement. Sweeney provides fresh understanding and appreciative insight into Edwards' enchanted world of Scripture. Edwards saw all of reality as infused with spiritual meaning. So God's special revelation in Scripture was not only the perspicuous key to everything else, it was also packed with countless cryptic spiritual connotations." - George Marsden, author of Jonathan Edwards: A Life

"This book is a major contribution to scholarship that evidences a deep and refined knowledge of Edwards' thought and presents a penetrating analysis of the reading of Scripture in a vast array of Edwards' works. Sweeney identifies Edwards' location in the Protestant exegetical tradition and ably sets his work into the context of intellectual life of the mid-eighteenth century." - Richard A. Muller, P.J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology, Emeritus, Calvin Theological Seminary

"Don't be fooled-this book is not about grammar or verb declensions. With leading figures from church history as conversation partners, Sweeney elegantly unpacks crucial issues of biblical interpretation in Edwards' ministry. Big theological topics alternate with discussion of Edwards' exposition of books of the Bible, demonstrating Sweeney's prodigious eye to detail and his capacious understanding of Edwards' world. This book isn't about syntax, but something more powerful: the transforming Word of God.” - Rhys Bezzant, author of Jonathan Edwards and the Church

"This study fills a significant lacuna. Much has been written about Edwards' life and times, his theology, and philosophy. But so far we did not have a comprehensive study of what Edwards himself would have regarded as the foundation of everything else: his biblical exegesis. Drawing widely from the Edwards corpus, Sweeney offers us a highly learned and nuanced but also very readable account of Edwards' multifaceted engagement with Scripture in the context of the early Enlightenment." - Jan Stievermann, Professor of the History of Christianity in the U.S., Heidelberg University

"Doug Sweeney has written what will probably be the definitive work on this aspect of Edwards ... doubtless the single most important book on this subject for a number of years to come." - English Churchman

"Douglas Sweeney's Edwards the Exegete is a rich and illuminating study of Jonathan Edwards's biblical exegesis. Sweeney carefully untangles Edwards's exegesis by drawing on a plethora of printed and manuscript sources." - Russell Newton, Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology