A New Jonathan Edwards?

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Staff member
I was looking to get a Kindle edition so I could re-read George Marsden's book on Jonathan Edwards (A Life) when I noticed a later book he had written about Mr. Edwards: A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards that promises to be a fully new work (i.e., not an abridgment of the first). Have any of you read this one? The first book was extremely helpful not only in understanding the Edwards family but also in setting the context of the late colonial era, so I'm really curious to see any additional work Mr. Marsden may have done on the subject.

Jackie Kaulitz

Puritan Board Freshman
A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards is available at my local library. I started it several times but didn't get far before giving up and finding something more engaging. This book is not at all what I expected. It is not a normal biography about Jonathan Edwards but it is a comparison biography between Edwards and Ben Franklin. The author joins them because 1) they both were New Englanders 2) they both came to New York but never met and 3) they were both accomplished. This is not a strong enough "connection" to me.

Since I am not a fan of Benjamin Franklin (no offense to those who are), I did not enjoy any such comparison. Edwards is someone I respect as my Calvinist Christian brother, while Franklin was a high ranking member of the fraternal esoteric society of Freemasonry - they did not share the same beliefs at all. I see so few similarities between the two men that the comparison seems offensive to me. What does a Christian (who holds God above all else) and a member of a non-Christian secret esoteric society (who holds the society and its laws above all else) have in common? The two men were opposites - and I guess that may be part of the author's point: one was chosen by God, the other not? Jacob and Esau? However, I could not stomach what I viewed as the author's continuous attempts to reconcile the two men as "two similar great men" and so I didn't get past the first few chapters.

I recommend that you preview the first chapter on the Kindle for free before buying it.
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Puritan Board Junior
I read it 2 or 3 years ago and enjoyed it. I have not read any other biographies of Edwards so I am not sure how comprehensive it is compared to overs. If my memory serves me right I remember the author continuly compared Edwards to Franklin because he felt that in many ways they were the two poles of precolonial intellectualism
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