ARTICLES

Volume 27 - Issue 1

The Secret Diaries of Jonathan Edwards Aged 54½: A Reconstruction (And Deconstruction?) of the New England Theologian—A Review Article

By Daniel Strange

Introduction

A few years ago, the BBC 2 series, Reputations offered a number of what might be called ‘deconstructionist historical portraits’. Here figures that we have known and loved (Baden Powell and Walt Disney were included) were given a revisionist makeover as the programme researchers attempted to get beneath ‘bright and shiny’ public personas to reveal more opaque and ambiguous private lives. At the time I found these programmes both fascinating and rather unsettling: Was this ‘new’ person the ‘real’ person? Was the public face a complete façade? Had the programme makers over-exaggerated minor personality traits for the sake of viewing consumption? Was or was this not an accurate piece of historical research? These same kinds of questions were running through my mind as I read Gerald McDermott’s book. Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods: Christian Theology, Enlightenment Religion, and Non-Christian Faiths. In this detailed study, we have a theological equivalent of Secret Lives (but in reverse), as McDermott presents the reader with a ‘strange, new Edwards’.1 Those who only associate Edwards with his sermon ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ and who might have thought he was tightly restrictivist on those who were privy to religious truth (i.e. only Calvinists), have been wrong in their assumptions:

This book is about a strange, new Edwards unfamiliar to generations of readers and scholars. It is a story of America’s most frightening preacher who—strangely—was fascinated by other religions and religious others. It will startle those who know Edwards from their American literature surveys to learn that he believed there was true revelation from God in non-Christian religions. Those who have been schooled in the stereotypical Edwards will find it even more remarkable that he believed that some non-Christians worshipped, perhaps without knowing it, the true God. A son of the Enlightenment who adopted key Enlightenment assumptions. Edwards nevertheless spent his life fighting Enlightenment religions. This battle reshaped his own understanding of the divine and its way with human beings. And like some of the better-known thinkers of the Enlightenment, he was mesmerized by non-European religions and scoured New England for books on unfamiliar faiths.2

Leigh Schmidt states that the book is ‘one of the most interesting and important works on Edwards in the last decade’3 and he places the work within a ‘neo-evangelical renaissance’4 and the ‘opening of the evangelical mind’5 where ‘Edwards stands as a beacon of the evangelical aspiration for greater intellectual heft’6 and where:

a new generation of historians and theologians is making use of the increasing accessible Edwards and the scholarly authority of the Yale edition to undo the scandalously trifling qualities of the evangelical mind. ‘Edwards vision has not faded’. Piper writes. ‘It is being recovered and reconsidered more extensively and with more vigour today, than at any time since his own day’. Amid this love-fest, Edwards has managed to silence most of his detractors … Above any other figure in American religious history, Edwards now comes recommended.7

In this article I want to try to demonstrate why I think McDermott’s book is important both in terms of what it can teach us, generally about the way we approach history as evangelicals, and more specifically what we can learn about the difficult area of evangelical thought called the ‘theology of religions’. The article is split into two parts: a description of McDermott’s thesis and a subsequent analysis and critique.

Description

Although McDermott refers to the corpus of Edwards’ public writing, the primary source for his re-evaluation is a painstaking analysis of Edwards’ private theological notebooks, called collectively the Miscellanies, of which there are over 1300 entries spanning a large part of Edwards’ life. McDermott originally came across the original unpublished manuscripts in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library during his dissertation research in 1987 but two volumes of these Miscellanies have now been published under Yale’s Works of Jonathan Edwards project8 with another two volumes forthcoming.9 McDermott also has recourse to refer to other private writings. Edwards’ Notes on Scripture and his Blank Bible, a Bible Edwards kept which had blank pages for notes between each page of Scripture.10

The scaffolding supporting this ‘strange, new Edwards’ is McDermott’s thesis that Edwards perceived the greatest enemy to Calvinist Christianity not to be Arminianism as is commonly thought, but rather Deism and this is reflected by the evidence that over twenty-five percent of the Miscellanies relate to the Deist challenge. Although McDermott is very careful to delineate different forms of Deism, he does note a number of family resemblances. To Byrne’s definition of Deism as ‘the negative criticism for claims for the uniqueness and divine character of any revealed religion and the positive affirmation that a religion based on reason and nature is sufficient for salvation’,11 McDermott adds two further components. These were: Deists rejected an appeal to authority because of their own understanding of reasonability that was the final test of the divine: ‘the location of a doctrine in the Bible was not reason enough to be declared divine; it had to meet the approval of what the eighteenth-century reason considered acceptable’.12 Secondly, the end or purpose of religion for the Deists was morality: ‘not only is the function of true religion moral and social—that is its role is to show the way to good society—but in its very essence religion is morality’.13 Amongst other attacks they made against Calvinist doctrine, Deists critiqued the scandal of particularity associated with the Calvinist God, arguing that a God who restricted salvation to a chosen few was partial and arbitrary. The heart of McDermott’s book is an analysis of Edward’s strategies of response to the Deist threat, and in particular the Deist challenge as presented by Thomas Chubb (1679–1746) and Matthew Tindal (1657–1733). As McDermott notes:

Scholars have never before considered Edwards’s proposal for reason and revelation in the full context of the deist challenge … In these … chapters, I reconstruct a theology of revelation and religion that was left in pieces in his notebooks, some parts of it reworked for use in treatises on the will, original sin, and virtue—and others awaiting the day when he would complete the massive apologia he had been planning for decades. Herein I hope to suggest what Edwards might have one day published on reason, revelation and other world religions—if he had survived the smallpox outbreak at Princeton.14

After spending two chapters outlining the Deist challenge in general and Edwards’ dealings with the Deists in particular, McDermott spends the following two chapters describing Edwards’ position on the promise and limits of reason in religion and the necessity of divine revelation. This amounts to a description of Edwards’ stance on natural theology and his doctrine of general revelation and a description that places him well within the boundaries of orthodox Reformed thought while demonstrating a high level of sophistication and nuance in his thinking on these matters. It is only when we come to McDermott’s exposition of Edwards’ understanding on the nature and history of religion that we really begin to see the ‘new Edwards’.

For Deists, religion was identified with morality, what Placher calls a domesticating of the divine:

while confidence in human abilities burgeoned and the range of ‘acceptable reasoning’ narrowed, there was less emphasis on revelation and grace, ‘decreasing attention paid to the Trinity’, and a ‘shift to Christian reflection on a simply unitary God’. Religion and theology were judged by their adequacy to fulfil objectives human beings set for them.15

In contrast to this, Edwards’ placed worship at the heart of both true and false religion, and stressed the developmental, progressive and historical nature of religion. McDermott notes that Edwards was as keen as the Deists (and for McDermott this shows that Edwards was a child of the Enlightenment as well as critique of it) to square the goodness of God with the limited reach of the Christian church and that he employed a number of theological strategies to demonstrate this fact.

McDermott notes Edwards’ fascination with other religions as seen in the extracts he copied into his notebooks from writers of the time. McDermott notes that these writers (he mentions Philip Skelton [1707–87] and Chevalier Ramsey [1686–1743] in particular) understood other religions in terms of the prisca theologia (ancient theology). This was a tradition in apologetic theology developed by among others Clement of Alexandria and Origen that stated:

all human beings were originally given knowledge of true religion (monotheism, the Trinity, creatio ex nihilo) by the Jews or by traditions going back to Noah’s good sons (Shem and Japheth) or antediluvians such as Enoch and Adam. This knowledge was subsequently passed down to Zoroaster, Hermes Trismegistus, Brahmins and Druids, Orpheus, Pythagorus, Plato, and the Sybils.16

McDermott argues that Edwards adopted and adapted the prisca theologia:

Edwards was clearly impressed by these proponents of the prisca theologia. He copied enormous extracts from their works into his private notebooks. Yet as Diderot once said, imitation is continual invention. From his marginal notes and recapitulation of the tradition in other private notebooks, it is clear that Edwards was selectively refashioning the tradition to serve his own polemical needs. His principal purpose was to show, against the deists, that nearly all humans have received revelation, and therefore all knowledge of true religion among the heathen is from revelation rather than the light of natural reason.17

In Edwards’ understanding, the fathers of the nations received both direct and indirect revelation from God. This revelation was then passed down by tradition in a trickle-down process. However, parallel to this was a religious law of entropy that distorted and perverted this revelation and turned it into idolatry while retaining scraps of truth. What is significant about McDermott’s understanding of Edwards’ appropriation of the prisca theologia is that McDermott claims Edwards broke with Reformed orthodoxy by claiming that knowledge of God the Redeemer could be known from the beginning of human history and not only knowledge of God the Creator.

The second strategy Edwards’ adopted in answering the Deist objections to the scandal of particularity was his typological view of reality:

Types, Edwards pronounced, ‘are a certain sort of language, as it were, in which God is wont to speak to us’. These types are words in persons, places, and things—and they are found in every part of his creation. Hence there are sermons in the stones, flowers and stars. God also speaks in history, both sacred and profane. He even speaks in the history of religions, heathen included. Indeed, every last atom of his creation pulsates with a divine melody. If the deists do not hear it, it is because they have stopped their ears.18

These types are God’s teaching aids to his creation whereby God accommodated infinite truth to finite minds. Those who have eyes to see (the regenerated) can read this typological language. The warrant for such a typological system is found in Scripture and the OT types that prefigure NT anti-types. McDermott shows clearly that Edwards had a rich and complex understanding of typology and that typology was used in his understanding of the religious other in that God had planted types of true religion into false religious systems. One example of this is the heathen practice of human sacrifice that was the result of Satan’s mimicry of God ordained animal sacrifice instituted after the Fall:

Edwards insisted that animal sacrifice, the main type of Christ in the Old Testament but revealed to all heathen, taught the necessity of propitiatory sacrifice to atone for sin. Imitating this divine type, the devil led the heathen to sacrifice human beings even their own sons … But God used this deception for his own purposes as well, to prepare the Gentile mind for the concept of incarnation, perfectly realised in Christ … God used false religion to teach the true. In each case the devil’s machinations were overruled ironically by divine wisdom. Practices considered by all Jews to be abominable—human sacrifice and idol worship—were transposed by a divine stratagem into pedagogical devices to prepare the heathen for true religion. In both cases God used non-Christian religions typologically to point to Christian truths. The practice of sacrifice taught far more than simple propitiation. It also showed that God would not pardon without sacrifice being made, that sin ‘must be suffered for’. It demonstrated God’s jealousy and hatred for sin, indicated the need to fear God and respect the glory of his holiness and suggested to sinners that they must trust in God’s mercy.19

Again the interesting point here is that McDermott classifies these as ‘redemptive myths’ more akin to special revelation and not just ‘creational myths’ which fall under God’s general revelation.

Armed with the prisca theologia and typology, McDermott now moves into the area of soteriology and the possibility of salvation among the heathen. Despite there being much revelation of God in the world, the majority of people do not avail themselves of it and rather than leading them to salvation it only led them to condemnation. At this point McDermott changes disciplines and moves into Edwards’ philosophical theology and into the concept of dispositional soteriology, a concept already familiar in Edwards scholarship.20

In summary, for Edwards the essence of all being is a disposition or habit that can have an ontological reality without being exercised:

The disposition is all that can said to be absolutely necessary. The act [of receiving Christ] cannot be proved to be absolutely necessary … ’Tis the disposition or principle is the thing that God looks at.21

This position has implications for the ordo salutis, particularly regeneration,

The whole of the saving work of God’s [sic] Spirit on the soul in the beginning and progress of it from the very first dawnings of the divine light until death is in some respect to be looked upon as all one work of regeneration … There is as it were an unregenerate part still in man after the first regeneration that still needs to be regenerated.22

At this point McDermott makes a cautious comparison between Edwards’ soteriology and Roman Catholic soteriology, noting that the Miscellanies may lay the foundations for a more inclusive view if both regeneration and justification can be considered from the perspective of processes that unfold in stages, for if someone has the right disposition but has incomplete knowledge of Christ, it may be because they are in the initial stages of regeneration and justification. However, note McDermott’s conclusion on this point: ‘Edwards never reached this explicit conclusion, at least in his published writings or private notebooks. But his own theology lays the groundwork for such an interpretation.’23

McDermott is on firmer ground with Edwards’ thinking when he discusses four types of persons who could be saved without explicit knowledge of Christ because they had the proper disposition: children dying in infancy, OT saints, NT saints like Cornelius and holy pagans like Melchizedek. What did God expect of a saving disposition? Edwards’ answer is based on his progressive view of revelation: while the basic conditions for salvation stay the same, God’s expectations are always in proportion to the revelation present. Moving one stage further, McDermott attempts to demonstrate that in the later Miscellanies Edwards tentatively reflected on the salvation of the heathen. In Miscellanies 1162 Edwards argues that heathen philosophers like Socrates and Plato were privy to revelation just as the wise men from the East were. If these philosophers did not use this revelation to lead their nations toward truth, then God must have had other intentions:

Edwards suggested four: to dispose heathen nations in the future to converse with and learn from the Jews, to prepare the Gentile for their future reception of the Gospel, to confirm the truths of Christianity, and (in what is one of the Edwards’s most cryptic comments in the thousands of pages of his private notebooks) to benefit their own souls: ‘We know not what evidence God might give to the men themselves that were subjects of these inspirations that they were divine and true … and so we know not of how great benefit the truths suggested might be to their own souls.’ Edwards is hesitant and tentative, but he nevertheless clearly opens the possibility that these heathen could have used revelation for their own spiritual benefit—a notion that is incoherent unless it means they can be saved. When we recall that Edwards wrote this entry during a period in which he was frequently quoting from writers who explicitly argued for the salvation of the virtuous heathen, it is difficult not to believe that Edwards did not include salvation among the possible benefits to human souls.24

McDermott’s conclusion here is that we are left with a curious tension on the subject and that Edwards was comfortably agnostic. On the one hand in his most explicit treatments, Edwards is as negative about other religions as his Reformed predecessors and holds almost no hope for salvation for those of other faiths. However, as I have already noted, McDermott believes that the prisca theologia, typology and dispositional soteriology ‘prepared the way for a more expansive view of salvation’.25

The final five chapters of the book see how Edwards specifically applied these strategies to religious others he encountered, namely Judaism, Islam, the philosophies of Greece and Rome, American Indians and the Chinese philosophies. The chapter on American Indians is worth special mention. McDermott notes Edwards’ contempt for practitioners of native American religion:

not only were they owned by the devil and therefore rightly called ‘the devil’s People’, but they were being devoured unwittingly by the prince of darkness. As the minister if an angry God put it, ‘The devil sucks their blood.’ They could look forward only to the misery of hell.26

However, despite these views, McDermott attempts to show firstly, Edwards’ fascination with God’s work of grace among these people as seen in the missionary endeavour of Solomon Stoddard and David Brainerd and their subsequent converts, and secondly his increasing affection for his Indian congregation:

Although he gave little indication of seeing any value in their religion and culture, he was clearly impressed by what God seemed to be doing among them. They seemed to him a divinely determined bellwether of the future direction of redemptive history. They may also have prodded him into thinking more deeply about the relationship between regeneration and conversion … But if he was not convinced that they were saved, he was certainly struck by their common humanity. These American heathen, whom he once called ‘beasts’, had now become souls with names—and parishioners whose interests he protected against those who would exploit them … The uncivilised natives showed more civility and common virtue than the educated English. Little wonder that Edwards’s private notebooks evidence continual rethinking of the spiritual knowledge and state of the heathen.27

Analysis and Critique

This is a truly fascinating and stimulating book, beautifully written and referenced and characterised by careful and thorough research. Even if one does not agree entirely with the force of McDermott’s thesis, the book will be helpful for those who wish to get a taster of the Miscellanies and Edwards other private writings without having to gorge (and bankrupt) themselves on the seven huge volumes given over to these writings in the Yale edition. In what follows, I wish to focus on a number of historical and theological questions that the book raises.

Like some of the Reputations programmes I mentioned, I felt a slight anticlimax (and, to be honest, relief), after completing McDermott’s book. The strange, new Edwards promised at the beginning is not really all that strange or new, and while some epicycles need to be put in place, a paradigmatic shift in my thinking on Edwards is not yet necessary. On one level a reviewer like Schmidt is keen to show how Edwards has far more in common in his cultural and intellectual historical context than McDermott perhaps allows:

Edwards, an astonishingly imaginative exegete, to be sure, needs nonetheless to be situated more fully in a colonial landscape of encounter—a context that was crucial to the very production of Enlightenment theorizing about religion. He also deserves a little more company from his compatriots. To set up Edwards’s ‘confrontation with the gods’ as ‘America’s most profound in that age of light’ (6–7, 227) makes him sound too singular, cutting him off from eighteenth century culture that also produced such inquiries into religion as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Hannah Adams and that ultimately came to include such sojourners as Joseph Priestley. Thomas Paine, and Constantin de Volney.28

However much of a visionary he is. Edwards remains a man of his time. In terms of the theological issues of revelation and truth in other religions, then we do see some fascinating ideas in the Miscellanies, and compared to other versions of Reformed orthodoxy Edwards is certainly ‘progressive’ in this thinking in his use of the prisca theologia and the typological system. However, if one is expecting Edwards to legitimise some form of salvific inclusivism in the form of Karl Rahner, or closer to home Clark Pinnock, then there will be disappointment. Indeed McDermott acknowledges this: ‘On the question of salvation, he usually only conceded the possibility that heathen could be saved and never spoke in the expansively hopeful terms of a Watts, Ramsay, Skelton, or even a Baxter or Wesley.’ McDermott’s conclusion is somewhat ambiguous:

The result—as a reading of these massive notebooks demonstrates—is a remarkable intellectual drama. Colonial America’s greatest mind, of whom it has often been said that his thinking changed little over the course of his career, seems to have been a work in process on the question of world religions … Edwards seems to have tossed and turned, as it were, trying to reconcile those truths with a theological tradition that had relegated other traditions to irrelevance … Edwards found a way to acknowledge genuine religious truth outside the Judeo-Christian world while at the same time holding fast to a particular and historical revelation. In the process, Edwards opened his own intricate system to the possibility of salvation outside the Christian church. Like Barth on universalism, Edwards could deny that he ever explicitly conceded what until then was heterodox while nevertheless constructing a system that could permit its entrance.29

The difference here is that, unlike the case of Barth, McDermott’s book does not lead me to take Edwards out of the tradition of Reformed Calvinistic orthodoxy and to be fair I do not think this is McDermott’s aim. Having said this, at several points in the book, I did discern the hint of a tension between McDermott the careful historian, and McDermott the creative systematic theologian as though there are ideas and strategies to do with the religious other in Edwards’ writing which McDermott is keen to explore and develop, but which he has to reign in and temper for the sake of historical objectivity. What we are left with are bold promises in the introduction of the book that appear far more tentative at the conclusion of the book when the evidence has been sifted through.

One of the reasons for this sense of tension is, I believe, the status of the Miscellanies as a literary genre. McDermott and the Yale project show us a whole body of work that can be paralleled to that of a great musician or artist. It is common in musical retrospectives today to be able to purchase exhaustive editions of an artist’s work, not just the original master takes but the alternative takes, the rehearsals, the false starts and fluff endings. Similarly with a master like Leonardo Da Vinci we are left with some complete masterpieces, some puzzling abstracts, and a whole pile of fascinating sketches. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this ‘completist desire’ as new discoveries can help us understand known work. However, one must be careful as to how one weighs up all this new material. In terms of Edwards, the Miscellanies surely belong to the ‘sketch’ genre and must be assessed on this basis. In his recent work on Edwards, Stephen Holmes makes the following point:

The discovery and close reading of the Miscellanies have been among the most significant features of Edwards scholarship over the past few years, providing great insight into how his thought holds together, and illuminating references to many theological issues not dealt with in many of his published works. This has led, however, to a mistaken regard for these notes. They cannot be considered as Edwards’ final word on any subject, but rather must be seen as his ‘rough workings.’ These books are the place where he jotted down interesting ideas that he felt the need to think more about; where he sketched new statements of arguments to see if they work.30

On the issue of salvation among the heathen. McDermott comments on the curious tension between Edwards, public and private writing on religious others. He suggests that the reason for the tension possibly was due to the fact that if he had openly pushed a more hopeful soteriology that he may have been associated too closely with Arminians and Deists. However, I think it would be a mistake to take the Miscellenies as being authoritative over and against Edwards’ public writings. All of us have ideas, thoughts and ‘brainstorms’, some of which we discard because they lead to deadends or are wrong-headed, others which we develop and build upon. The Miscellanies show us that Edwards had more of these thoughts than most and also show an inexhaustibly creative mind, but one does wonder what Edwards would think about these private items becoming public items for analysis and scrutiny. To reconstruct Edwards’ theology of revelation and religion from these writings is as perilous and difficult a task as a contemporary composer completing an unfinished symphony of a dead musical genius: while we can get a rough idea of what the completed opus might have sounded like, there is always a nagging thought at the back of the mind which says that this is not truly ‘authentic’ because there is another hand at work. There is an amount of speculation and imagination needed to attempt to show how Edwards would have developed these theological ideas and the temptation to read too much into these notes must be great. To be fair to McDermott, the historian in him appears to win through most of the time and many of his overall conclusions are fairly measured and cautious. However on a few occasions I did ask myself: whose theology of revelation and religion are we seeing here—a reconstruction of Edwards or a construction of McDermott’s. Note the effect that the writing of the book had on the author:

In short, this book is the result of a discovery that rather startled me. My forays into his private notebooks, and then my explorations of his published works guided by what I have uncovered in the notebooks, led me to an Edwards whom I and other scholars had never met … I think the result is a new perspective on the thinking of America’s greatest theologian. At the same time, this Edwards opens a window on how Christians of another era responded to a scandal of particularity not unlike the one that bedevils their successors at the dawn of the twenty-first century.31

Perhaps I myself need to be careful not to unfairly project my own ‘systematic theological’ temptations onto McDermott. As a Reformed evangelical who is nevertheless fascinated by the ‘religious other’ and the phenomenon we call ‘religion’, the idea that progressive and developmental thinking in terms of truth and revelation in other religions can be legitimated because one of the giants of Reformed thought has has paved the way for such thinking, is a wonderful discovery. There is still a real paucity of material concerning a conservative evangelical theology of religions and if a giant like Edwards can help us construct a biblically faithful framework to understand religious other then it is to be welcomed. Certainly from a contemporary perspective, Edwards’strategies like the prisca theologia and typological system may provide useful springboards to explore the genesis of religion and nuance the way evangelicals construe God’s general revelation and special revelation. McDermott himself has attempted to do this in another book published at the same time as his work on Edwards, Can Evangelicals Learn From World Religions: Jesus, Revelation and Religious Traditions (IVP, 2000). However as evangelicals, we must make a clear distinction between legitimate and genuine theological extrapolation forwards and unfair and illegitimate theological projection backwards. If we succumb to the latter it can lead to a twisting of history that will impoverish the evangelical tradition. While noting and perhaps building upon the discoveries contained in the Miscellanies, it will be extreme folly, not to mention bad history, to forget the ‘unreconstructed’ Edwards who wrote ‘Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God’ and who emphasised the world’s need to confess Christ as Lord and Saviour in a sin-soaked world.


1 Gerald R. McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods: Christian Theology, Enlightenment Religion and Non-Christian Faiths (Oxford: OUP, 2000), 3. McDermott is Associate Professor of Religion at Roanoke College in Virginia, USA.

2 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 3.

3 Leigh E. Schmidt ‘The Edwards Revival: Or, The Public Consequences of Exceedingly Careful Scholarship’ in William and Mary Quarterly 58 (2000), 484.

4 Schmidt, ‘The Edwards Revival’, 481.

5 Schmidt, ‘The Edwards Revival’, 482.

6 Schmidt, ‘The Edwards Revival’.

7 Schmidt, ‘The Edwards Revival’, Schmidt is referring to John Piper’s God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (IVP, 1998), 27.

8 For details of this project see (www.yale.edu/wje).

9 Works of Jonathan Edwards Volume 13: The ‘Miscellanies’: (Entry Nos. a–z, aa–zz, 1–500) ed. Thomas A. Schafer (Yale University Press, 1994): Volume 18: The ‘Miscellanies’: (Entry Nos. 501–832) ed. Ava Chamberlain (Yale University Press, 2000); The “Miscellanies”, 833–1152, Edited by Amy Plantinga Pauw (Yale University Press: forthcoming): The ‘Miscellanies’, 1153–360 Edited by Douglas A. Sweeney (Yale University Press: forthcoming).

10 Works of Jonathan Edwards Volume 15: Notes on Scripture ed. Stephen J. Stein (Yale University Press, 1998): The ‘Blank Bible’ (Vol. 1) Ed. Stephen J. Stein (Yale University Press, forthcoming); The ‘Blank Bible’ (Vol. 2) Ed. Stephen J. Stein (Yale University Press, forthcoming).

11 Peter Byrne, Natural Religion and the Nature of Religion: The Legacy of Deism (London, 1989), quoted in McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 20f.

12 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 21.

13 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods.

14 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 8.

15 See William C. Placher, The Domestication of Transcendence: How Modern Thinking about God Went Wrong (Louisville, 1996), 3, 14f, quoted in McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 89.

16 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 93.

17 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 94.

18 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 110f.

19 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 126.

20 See Sang Hyun Lee, The Philosophical Theology of Jonathan Edwards (New York, 1988); Anri Morimoto, Jonathan Edwards and the Catholic Vision of Salvation (University Park, Pa., 1995).

21 Miscellanies 27b, quoted in McDermott. Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 134.

22 Miscellanies 847, quoted in McDermott. Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 136.

23 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 137.

24 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 140f.

25 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 143.

26 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 195.

27 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 206.

28 Schmidt, ‘William and Mary Quarterly’, Vol. 58, (2001), 480–86.

29 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 13.

30 Stephen Holmes, God of Grace and God of Glory (T. & T., 2001), 35f.

31 McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, 13.

Daniel Strange

Daniel Strange is college director and tutor in culture, religion and public theology at Oak Hill College, London and contributing editor of Themelios.