Which of Edwards should I read first?

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Supersillymanable

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm starting to go through different dead writers works and I'm going to start Jonathan Edwards, I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion on what to start with? Which of his major works? I'm going to read his particularly well known stuff,first I think, and then move onto letters, sermons, etc.

So, what do you guys think?
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my opinion, Edwards's best known works are his most difficult to read because they are the most philosophical and the deepest. I would recommend you begin by reading his sermons. I've edited about 18 volumes of his sermons and would most recommend "Altogether Lovely," his sermons on the beauty and glory of Christ. Then "Our Great and Glorious God," or "Charity and Its Fruits."

Enjoy!
 

Supersillymanable

Puritan Board Freshman
In my opinion, Edwards's best known works are his most difficult to read because they are the most philosophical and the deepest. I would recommend you begin by reading his sermons. I've edited about 18 volumes of his sermons and would most recommend "Altogether Lovely," his sermons on the beauty and glory of Christ. Then "Our Great and Glorious God," or "Charity and Its Fruits."

Enjoy!
I have not often found books hard due to philosophical complexity, I've always enjoyed philosophical writings (I have not long reading Craig and Moreland's "Philosophical foundations of the Christian Worldview" which I thoroughly enjoyed). Does reading his sermons first give a better view of his overall theology? I currently have the two volumes of his essential works , available from amazon, which of his works from that set would you recommend starting with? I'm not sure the sermons you mentioned are in those two, which is frustrating... Hopefully I'll be able to pick up his full set at some point.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Since you want to dive right in with his major works you might wish to start with Freedom of the Will and Original Sin. If you delight in the philosophical, you'll enjoy his work on the Will. If you pursue some of his works that are more historically situated, like his three works on the Awakening, culminating with Religious Affections, you might wish to read a good biography that situates these works properly. I would recommend George Marsden's biography on Edwards to help you contextualize him.

Peace,
Alan
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
This is the order I would suggest
1. Iain Murray's biography - a spiritually mature assessment of Edwards
2. George Marsden's biography on Edwards - a major biography
3. A God Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards - a helpful coverage of Edwards in general including many of his key works
4. Charity and Its Fruits
5. Edwards books on Revival [Jonathan Edwards on Revival and Thoughts on the New England Revival: Vindicating the Great Awakening]
6. A history of the work of Redemption - not hard to read and a wonderful biblical theology
 
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