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on August 22, 2000
This book contains excellent choices from the writings of Jonathan Edwards, the first great philosopher in the American colonies, including some of his earliest writings, mostly just philosophical or biological musings. It reflects some interesting developments in the maturation of his thinking. It also has letters to friends, colleagues, and family members. Some of his most well-known sermons are alongside some representative samples of his sermons. Unfortunately, there is room for only excerpts from his longer works, such as The Religious Affections, but that can't be helped in an affordable popular anthology. If you want all of his works, but the complete works from the same publisher. If you just want a representative sample of some of the best works of this great theologian and philosopher, get this.
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on August 27, 2009
This was the required primary text reading for a class on Edwards. When it was all said and done, I was very disappointed. There is a wide selection of Edwards' works in this volume--sermons, letters, essays and treatises. It was helpful to be able to read parts from so many of these works. Edwards' writings can be quite varied, and this volume really allows the reader to see the difference in his writings.


The editorial process on each work is rough. Admittedly, several of the works are quite lengthy in their full text, and you would just need to buy the two volume version of Edwards' works (and a magnifying glass) if you wanted the full texts. However, some of these texts are cut so short that you don't really get a feel for Edwards' real argument. I'm specifically thinking about his treatise on Original Sin, where you only get some of his natural arguments, and little (if any) of his biblical and theological arguments. The same could be said about the treatise on Free Will. This is unfortunate, as it makes Edwards look to be more of a philosopher and less of a theologian. Edwards was clearly both.

The editors had no choice but to chop Edwards' works into small pieces for this volume. However, it would have been nice to see the multifaceted nature of his arguments, instead of being left with a few odd ramblings.
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on August 13, 2009
This book is a permanent fixture on my night stand. After the Bible itself, Edwards offers the best source of spiritual support for the reformed-theology oriented believer. (At the very least, he's right up there with Calvin.) He was not only a compelling minister, but a world-class thinker, and the depth of his thought is only recently beginning to be appreciated. (An outstanding source on Edwards as a thinker is "The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards," by Stephen H. Daniel. (Indiana University Press, 1994.) In his academic works, Edwards frequently mentions Locke, and it's easy to conclude that he is just another modern philosopher, albeit with a reformed-theological bias. Nothing is further from the truth. An in-depth reading of Edwards reveals a subtlety of thought which anticipates that of Heidegger. Many volumes could be written on t his subject alone. Like Heidegger, Edwards was interested in understanding what it means to be human, and sought his answers in human lived experience, rather than in a rarified conceptual model far removed from the world of everyday human being. It is here that we begin to appreciate the magnitude of his genius, since his ontology cuts across the mind-will dualism which has bedeviled Western philosophy at least since Descartes. In any case, it's rare indeed to find a writer who speaks with equal fluency to the heart as well as the head. In this respect, Edwards has few peers, and even fewer superiors (if any). An anthology like this can scarcely do justice to the breadth and depth of Edwards' thought, but it's an excellent place to begin. And too, at a time, like the present, when evangelical Christianity is long overdue for a second reformation, Christian ministers and theologians could do worse than take their cue from Edwards.

This collection of essays is carefully edited, but, from a hard-core scholar's point of view, lacks the authority of the critically-edited volumes of Edwards' works being prepared by Yale University. But it's far superior to any other collection of Edwards' works. Each volume in the critical editions is rather pricey, but well worth the investment.
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on October 5, 2009
It has everything important for a beginning reader of Edwards, beautifully edited. I chose it for classroom use and it was just right.
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on April 12, 2014
The JE Reader, compiled by the faculty at Yale who direct the Jonathan Edwards Center there, provides the best introduction to the thought of this intellectual giant, considered by many to be not only America's greatest theologian but also its greatest philosopher. The wide selection of texts are drawn from his major theological and philosophical works, but also include his most famous sermons, personal writings and letters. For those familiar only with his "Sinners" sermon (a classic of the genre and of rhetoric in general, which is why it makes all the anthologies, and is required reading in English philology and American Studies programs around the world), the volume reveals the breadth and depth of Edwards' thought, which was driven not by the fires of hell but by his vision of the beauty of God.
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on August 9, 2013
What can I say? A great selection of pieces of Edwards work. If you read it all and pay attention you will learn all about Edwards!
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on February 4, 2015
Very interesting read. Insightful to inspire thought as well as alternative perspective. Must be open to consider various questions. Can take you out of your comfort zone.
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on January 6, 2012
We got this to replace one we had already had. It was great to recieve it so fast and I will look forward to buying more.
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