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Jonathan Edwards. A New Biography by Iain H. Murray

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When it first appeared in 1987, this book was the first full-length life of Jonathan Edwards to appear for almost fifty years. In the meantime the Pastor of Northampton, Missionary to the Indians in Stockbridge, and President of the New Jersey College (later Princeton) has been increasingly recognized as the greatest intellectual figure in eighteenth-century America.

Never before has so much material by Edwards or such detailed studies of his thought been available. Yet many of those who have led this renaissance of Edwards studies remain personally out of sympathy with almost every one of their subject’s personal convictions.

Special interest therefore attaches to Iain H. Murrary’s carefully-researched biography. Writing with the easy style, spiritual insight and sympathy with his subject which marks his other biographical works, Murray builds on the older lives of Edwards, but also harvests material from more recent studies.

Iain Murray believes that Edwards cannot be understood apart from his faith. Only when seen first and foremost as a Christian do his life and writings make sense. The integrity of this interpretation is confirmed in this study as Edwards is allowed on point after point to speak for himself.

The result is a biography which is both factually and theologically reliable. Edwards’ theology is set in the context of his everyday life in public and private. His family relationships punctuate the narrative, adding both interest and pathos. This outstanding study is not only an exceptional biography; it also serves as a classic illustration of how the church today can and should learn from its past history.

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