The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8

Volume 8: Ethical Writings

Jonathan Edwards; Edited by Paul Ramsay

View Inside Price: $125.00


September 10, 1989
808 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300040203
Cloth

This volume contains two major works of Jonathan Edwards: an unpublished text of a series of sermons he preached in 1738, known as Charity and Its Fruits, and his Two Dissertations: I. Concerning the End for Which God Created the World and II. On the Nature of True Virtue, published posthumously in 1765. Together these writings set out the principles of Edwards’ ethical reflections.
The text of the sermon series is drawn from three sources. The primary text is an early nineteenth-century transcription of Edwards’ sermon booklets now in the Andover-Newton Theological School’s collection. Passages published in Tyron Edwards’ 1852 edition, and partial transcriptions by Joseph Bellamy found in three fragments among his papers, have been used where the Andover copy is incomplete. The Bellamy fragments are reproduced in their entirety in a critical appendix, along with examples showing the editor’s use of the three sources in construing this definitive text for the Yale edition.
End of Creation and True Virtue, intended by Edwards to be read together, are shown here to be closely related to Edwards’ other writings. Paul Ramsey’s introduction points out that Edwards returned again and again to these topics in his Miscellanies, where he identifies penultimate versions of both treatises and traces the development of Edwards’ ideas. Thus the reader is able to follow Edwards’ most profound reflections about God and the moral dimensions of his creations. 
This is one of the most wide-ranging theological and philosophical volumes projected in the Yale edition. The Editor’s Introduction gives a systematic analysis of the theological ethics to be found in these writings and of Edwards’ esteem for the splendor of common morality. Appendices exploring the “moral sense” school, “infused” virtue in Edwards and Calvin, and Edwards’ belief in the never ending increase of holiness and happiness in heaven complete the volume.

"The Jonathan Edwards Project is the first of its kind—a comprehensive, exhaustive effort to produce an online archive of all of Edwards' sermons, treatises, letters and musings to serve the needs of anyone who cares to know the man. To date, no other university or institute has attempted to transcribe, computerize and then post online the complete works of any one historical figure. . . . Though he may never attain the rock-star status of George Washington, with the Yale project, Edwards will live forever.—Adrian Brune, Hartford Courant

"Ramsey’s own contributions, including an extensive introduction and several appendices, are themselves of book length, with lucid discussions of textual issues, highly insightful interpretive comments on the main themes of Edwards’ moral thought, and an army of footnotes. . . .The volume as a whole is a substantial and distinguished contribution to the literature. . . . Students both of ethics and of Edwards will long be deeply grateful to Ramsey for this fine volume; and those who agree with Perry Miller that nobody better than Edwards generalized his experience into `the meaning of America’ will be glad to learn that in Ramsey’s hands Jonathan Edwards still has a lot to teach."—Robert Song, Studies in Christian Ethics

"One is grateful for Ramsey’s edition. His interpretations will enter the discussions that continue about Edwards’s work. His careful editing will be consulted by readers who use the cheaper reprints of nineteenth-century editions. His work on Edwards marks an unusual scholarly career; rarely has an American theologian combined voluminous systematic and polemical publications in his own voice with such disinterested and intricate scholarly endeavors as this volume and his earlier one . . . manifest."—James M. Gustafson, Journal of Religion

"Substantial volume. . . . Ramsey provides an extensive introduction in which he argues, among other things, that the sermons on Christian charity are usefully read in conjunction with A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections and that the relationship between the two dissertations is sufficiently important that to read the one without the other will often be to misread Edwards’s ethical work. Every serious student of Edwards’s work, particularly his ethical work, will want to own this volume."—Paul Lauritzen, Religious Studies Review

"Excellent and welcome additions to the growing body of scholarship on a figure who is America’s foremost theologian to date and one who also stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin."—W. Stacy Johnson, Interpretation

"Prefaced by a[n] . . . illuminating introduction. . . . This volume will contribute to the renaissance in interest that Edwards deserves."—Stanley J. Grenz, Christian Century

"One is grateful for Ramsey’s edition. His interpretations will enter the discussions that continue about Edwards’ work. His careful editing will be consulted by readers who use the cheaper reprints of nineteenth-century editions."—James M. Gustafson, Political Science Quarterly

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