The Biblical World of Jonathan Edwards



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WJE, 16, 729.

72 As several of the sources in n. 73 attest, there was never a master text of the King James Bible that would guarantee consistency in the history of its printing. There was even some confusion as to which was the first edition. Its text was only stabilized after Edwards’ death with the publication of Benjamin Blayney’s Oxford folio (1769). That and the nineteenth-century labors of the American Bible Society have yielded more stability in today’s King James. (Minor changes have been made, though, even during the last two centuries.)

73 On the English Annotations upon All the Books of the Old and New Testament; Wherein the Text Is Explained, Doubts Resolved, Scriptures Paralleled, and Various Readings Observed . . . (London: John Legatt and John Raworth, 1645), which were commissioned by the Long Parliament in 1640, went through three different editions (1645, 1651, 1657, the latter two so large that they comprised two volumes, eventually totaling nearly 2,400 pages) and two supplemental volumes (1655, 1658), see Muller’s contribution to Richard A. Muller and Rowland S. Ward, Scripture and Worship: Biblical Interpretation and the Directory for Public Worship, The Westminster Assembly and the Reformed Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2007), 3-82; and Dean George Lampros, “A New Set of Spectacles: The Assembly’s Annotations, 1645-1657,” Renaissance and Reformation 19 (1995): 33-46.

74 The first English Bible to include verse numbers and explanatory notes, the Geneva Bible soared in popularity. Nearly half a million copies, in more than 70 editions, were sold in Great Britain. Because produced by Marian exiles dwelling in Geneva, it was printed there first in 1560. It was published back in England between 1575 and the start of the civil wars (after which it had to be made abroad and shipped back to England, most frequently from Amsterdam). Nine King James editions with Geneva notes were published between 1642 and 1715 (again, usually in Amsterdam). Sometimes their notes were even adapted to the language of the King James itself. Inasmuch as the King’s Printer had a monarchial monopoly on the printing of English Bibles and, over time, invested most in the King James Bible, and because the King himself had outlawed Geneva Bibles, only the King James was printed in England by 1640 (though the monopoly itself dissolved with the monarchy in the later 1640s.) For more on the history of these translations and the eventual ascendancy of the King James Bible, see Arthur Sumner Herbert, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible: 1525-1961, rev. and expanded from the ed. of T. H. Darlow and H. F. Moule, 1903 (London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1968); Irena Doruta Backus, The Reformed Roots of the English New Testament: The Influence of Theodore Beza on the English New Testament, The Pittsburgh Theological Monograph Series (Pittsburgh, PA: The Pickwick Press, 1980); Neil W. Hitchin, “The Politics of English Bible Translation in Georgian Britain,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser., 9 (1999): 67-92; David Norton, A History of the English Bible as Literature, A History of the Bible as Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Roland H. Worth, Jr., Church, Monarch and Bible in Sixteenth Century England: The Political Context of Biblical Translation (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2000); Daniell, The Bible in English; David S. Katz, God’s Last Words: Reading the English Bible from the Reformation to Fundamentalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); Scott Mandelbrote, “The Authority of the Word: Manuscript, Print and the Text of the Bible in Seventeenth-Century England,” in The Uses of Script and Print, 1300-1700, ed. Julia Crick and Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 135-53; David Norton, A Textual History of the King James Bible (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Muller and Ward, Scripture and Worship; Lori Anne Ferrell, The Bible and the People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008); Naomi Tadmor, The Social Universe of the English Bible: Scripture, Society, and Culture in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Hannibal Hamlin and Norman W. Jones, eds., The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic, and Cultural Influences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Gordon Campbell, Bible: The Story of the King James Version, 1611-2011 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); Harold Bloom, The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011); and David Norton, The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

75 See especially WJE, 15:4-12.

76 John Taylor was Edwards’ nemesis in his work on Original Sin. See WJE, 3:68-70; and G. T. Eddy, Dr Taylor of Norwich: Wesley’s Arch-heretic (Werrington, U.K.: Epworth Press, 2003), 95-100. John Owen was a nonconformist Calvinist Oxonian who made a great impression on the Anglo-American world. Among the numerous publications devoted to Owen’s life and work, especially in recent years, see especially Tim Cooper et al., “The State of the Field: ‘John Owen Unleashed: Almost,’” Conversations in Religion and Theology 6 (November 2008): 226-57; Peter Toon, God’s Statesman: The Life and Work of John Owen, Pastor, Educator, Theologian (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973; orig. 1971); Carl R. Trueman, The Claims of Truth: John Owen’s Trinitarian Theology (Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster Press, 1998); Sebastian Rehnman, Divine Discourse: The Theological Methodology of John Owen, Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002); Kelly M. Kapic, Communion with God: The Divine and the Human in the Theology of John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007); and Carl R. Trueman, John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man, Great Theologians Series (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2007). On Owen’s exegesis, see Carl Trueman, “Faith Seeking Understanding: Some Neglected Aspects of John Owen’s Understanding of Scriptural Interpretation,” in Interpreting the Bible: Historical and Theological Studies in Honour of David F. Wright, ed. A. N. S. Lane (Leicester, U.K.: Apollos, 1997), 147-62; Henry M. Knapp, “Understanding the Mind of God: John Owen and Seventeenth-Century Exegetical Methodology” (Ph.D. diss., Calvin Theological Seminary, 2002); and K. M. Kapic, “Owen, John (1616-1683),” in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, ed. Donald K. McKim (Downders Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007), 795-99. Thomas Manton was a celebrated Presbyterian exegete. See especially William Harris, “Some Memoirs of the Life and Character of the Reverend and Learned Thomas Manton, D.D.,” in Thomas Manton, One Hundred and Ninety Sermons on the Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm, 3 vols., 3d ed. (London: William Brown, 1845), 1:vii-xxx; Derek Cooper, “The Ecumenical Exegete: Thomas Manton’s Commentary on James in Relation to Its Protestant Predecessors, Contemporaries, and Successors” (Ph.D. diss., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 2008); and Derek Cooper, Thomas Manton: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Pastor, The Guided Tour Series (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2011). For the works of these three men read regularly by Edwards, see John Taylor, A Paraphrase with Notes on the Epistle to the Romans: to Which Is Prefix’d, A Key to the Apostolic Writings; or, An Essay to Explain the Gospel Scheme, and the Principal Words and Phrases the Apostles Have Used in Describing It (Dublin: A. Reilly for John Smith, 1746), Edwards’ lightly marked copy of which was a gift from John Erskine and is housed at the Beinecke Library; Owen, Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews; and Thomas Manton, A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes upon the Epistle of James. Delivered in Sundry Weekly Lectures at Stoke-Newington in Middlesex, neer London . . ., 3d ed. (London: J. Macock for Luke Fawn, 1657), bound with Thomas Manton, A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of Jude. Delivered (for the Most Part) in Sundry Weekly Lectures at Stoke-Newington in Middlesex . . . (London: J. M. for Luke Fawn, 1658), Edwards’ copy of which is held at Princeton’s Firestone Library.

77 Poole, ed., Synopsis Criticorum Aliorumque Sacrae Scripturae Interpretum, based on John Pearson et al., ed., Critici Sacri: sive Doctissimorum Virorum in SS. Biblia Annotationes et Tractatus, 9 vols. (London: Cornelius Bee et al., 1660). Edwards also used Poole’s English-language Annotations (see n. 9, above), which were owned by his father. Poole was sued for abridging Pearson’s work without permission, but survived the suit unscathed, except that pirated editions of Poole’s compendium appeared thereafter in Frankfurt (1678, 1694, 1709, 1712) and Utrecht (1684). For more on Pearson, Poole, and their massive publications, see “Poole, Matthew,” in S. Austin Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, Living and Deceased, from the Earliest Accounts to the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century, Containing over Forty-Six Thousand Articles (Authors), with Forty Indexes of Subjects, 3 vols. (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1858-72; repr. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1965), 2:1621-23; Thomas R. Preston, “Biblical Criticism, Literature, and the Eighteenth-Century Reader,” in Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Isabel Rivers (Leicester, U.K.: Leicester University Press, 1982), 97-126 (esp. 103); Manuel, The Broken Staff, 102-103; G. Bray, “Poole, Matthew (1624-1679),” in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, ed. Donald K. McKim (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007), 840-42; and Reiner Smolinski, “Editor’s Introduction” to Cotton Mather, Biblia Americana: America’s First Bible Commentary, A Synoptic Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Volume 1: Genesis, ed. Reiner Smolinski (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010), 49. On Poole’s more famous attempt to gather and publish accounts of prodigies, see Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971), 95-96; Michael P. Winship, Seers of God: Puritan Providentialism in the Restoration and Early Enlightenment, Early America: History, Context, Culture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 60-62; and William E. Burns, An Age of Wonders: Prodigies, Politics and Providence in England, 1657-1727 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), 12-19.

78 Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament. Henry made it through the Old Testament but died while working on Romans, so thirteen of his nonconformist colleagues completed the sixth and final volume. See J. B. Williams, The Life, Character, and Writings of the Rev. Matthew Henry, 3d ed. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829); David Crump, “The Preaching of George Whitefield and His Use of Matthew Henry’s Commentary,” Crux 25 (September 1989): 19-28; H. O. Old, “Henry, Matthew (1662-1714),” in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, ed. McKim; and Allan M. Harman, “The Impact of Matthew Henry’s Exposition on Eighteenth-Century Christianity,” Evangelical Quarterly 82 (January 2010): 3-14, who notes that “no other biblical commentary was so readily available or repeatedly reprinted in the 18th century than that by Matthew Henry . . . . His acceptance was widespread, involving dissenters, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists and Scottish Presbyterians” (13). Cotton Mather’s estimate was common in Edwards’ day: “The Commentaries of our Henry on the Bible, have out-done most that we have yet had, in this Regard: The SPIRIT which dictated the Sacred Scriptures, operating on the Mind of the Commentator, in the Dispositions and Observations of Experimental Piety. The Erudition also appearing, without Affectation of Appearance, in them is far from Contemptible.” See Mather, Manuductio ad Ministerium, 83.

79 Doddridge, Family Expositor. Doddridge was an Edwards fan, who read the Faithful Narrative (WJE, 4:130-211) and Edwards’ Life of Brainerd (WJE, 7:89-541). See Malcolm Deacon, Philip Doddridge of Northampton, 1702-51 (Northampton, U.K.: Northamptonshire Libraries, 1980), 133 and passim. For more on Doddridge and his work, see John Stoughton, Philip Doddridge: His Life and Labours, a Centenary Memorial (London: Jackson and Walford, 1851); Charles Stanford, Philip Doddridge, D.D. (New York: A. C. Armstrong, 1881); Alexander Gordon, Philip Doddridge and the Catholicity of the Old Dissent (London: Lindsey Press, 1951; orig. 1895); Geoffrey F. Nuttall, ed., Philip Doddridge, 1702-51: His Contribution to English Religion (London: Independent Press Ltd., 1951); Geoffrey F. Nuttall, Richard Baxter and Philip Doddridge: A Study in a Tradition, Friends of Dr. Williams’s Library, Fifth Lecture (London: Oxford University Press, 1951); R. L. Greenall, ed., Philip Doddridge, Nonconformity and Northampton (Leicester, U.K.: Department of Adult Education, University of Leicester, 1981); Preston, “Biblical Criticism, Literature, and the Eighteenth-Century Reader,” 105-106; Alan C. Clifford, “The Christian Mind of Philip Doddridge (1702-1751): The Gospel according to an Evangelical Congregationalist,” Evangelical Quarterly 56 (October 1984): 227-42; Isabel Rivers, “Philip Doddridge’s New Testament: The Family Expositor (1739-56),” in The King James Bible after 400 Years, ed. Hamlin and Jones, 124-45; and Richard A. Muller, “Philip Doddridge and the Formulation of Calvinistic Theology in an Era of Rationalism and Deconfessionalization,” in Religion, Politics and Dissent, 1660-1832: Essays in Honour of James E. Bradley, ed. Robert D. Cornwall and William Gibson (Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate, 2010), 65-84.

80 See Stein, WJE, 24:59.

81 See John A. Ayabe, “A Search for Meaning: Principles of Exegesis in Jonathan Edwards’s ‘Notes on Scripture’” (M.A. thesis, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2001), 56-57.

82 Samuel Mather, The Figures or Types of the Old Testament, by Which Christ and the Heavenly Things of the Gospel Were Preached and Shadowed to the People of God of Old. Explain’d and Improv’d in Sundry Sermons . . ., 2d ed. (London: Nath. Hillier, 1705), Edwards’ copy of which is held in Princeton’s Firestone Library. One of Richard Mather’s sons (brother of Increase, uncle of Cotton), Samuel graduated from Harvard (M.A., 1643), preached for a short time in New England, but moved to England in 1650 and served as chaplain of Magdalen College (Oxford) before his ordination and settlement at St. Nicholas’ Church, Dublin, where he preached these sermons in 1666. They would be published posthumously and widely used by other Puritans. On Edwards’ ownership of these sermons and habit of lending them out to others, see WJE, 26:340, 417-18, 421, 425. For more on Mather’s life and work, see Mason Lowance’s “Introduction” to the critical facsimile of Samuel Mather, The Figures or Types of the Old Testament, ed. Mason I. Lowance, Jr., Series in American Studies (New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1969; 2d ed., 1705), v-xxiii; and Mason I. Lowance, Jr., The Language of Canaan: Metaphor and Symbol in New England from the Puritans to the Transcendentalists (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980), 57-88.

83 He cited all of these writers frequently, especially Mastricht’s Theoretico-practica theologia . . ., new ed. (Utrecht: Thomae Appels, 1699), which had been recommended by Mather above all “SYSTEMS OF DIVINITY” (Manuductio ad Ministerium, 84-85), which Edwards claimed “is much better than Turretin or any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion” (WJE, 16:217), and Edwards’ copy of which is held in Princeton’s Firestone Library; Turretin’s Institutio theologiae elencticae . . ., 3 vols. (Geneva: Samuel de Tournes, 1679-85), which Edwards owned and lent to others (WJE, 26:349-50) as an “excellent” source of “polemical divinity; on the Five Points, and all other controversial points” (WJE, 16:217); and Stapfer’s Institutiones theologiae polemicae universae . . ., 5 vols. (Zurich: Heideggerum and Socios, 1743-47), which Edwards cited often during the latter years of his life. On Mastricht, see especially Adriaan C. Neele, Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706): Reformed Orthodoxy: Method and Piety, Brill’s Series in Church History (Leiden: Brill, 2009), which has an appendix on “Mastricht and Edwards,” 316-20, and emphasizes throughout that theology, for Mastricht, always begins with and is founded on the text of Scripture itself. On Turretin, start with J. Mark Beach, Christ and the Covenant: Francis Turretin’s Federal Theology as a Defense of the Doctrine of Grace, Reformed Historical Theology (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007). On Stapfer, see WJE, 3:83, and 23:17-18.

84 Ephraim Chambers, Cyclopaedia: or, an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences . . ., 2 vols. (London: James and John Knapton et al., 1728). On Chambers and his work, see Robert Collison, Encyclopaedias: Their History throughout the Ages (London: Hafner Publishing Company, 1964), who calls Chambers “the father of the modern encyclopaedia throughout the world,” showing that “almost every subsequent move in the world of encyclopaedia-making is . . . directly traceable to the pioneer example of Chambers’ work” (103-104), including the celebrated Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert (1751-72), which began as a French translation of Chambers’ Cyclopaedia; and Richard Yeo, Encyclopaedic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 37, 120-44. On Chambers’ significance to Edwards, see WJE, 26:77-78. For more on Enlightenment-era encyclopedias and their bearing on the cultural status of Scripture in the West, see also Frank A. Kafker, “Encyclopedias,” in Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, 4 vols., ed. Alan Charles Kors (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 1:398-403; Jonathan Sheehan, “From Philology to Fossils: The Biblical Encyclopedia in Early Modern Europe,” Journal of the History of Ideas 64 (January 2003): 41-60; and Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).

85 Roy Porter, The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000), 233. This comports with Jonathan Sheehan’s summary statement on the notion of “the biblical encyclopedia” in Western Europe: In the early eighteenth century, “the Bible, already a book of topical commonplaces for the learned, was made into [an] organizational system for presenting and containing not just knowledge about the biblical world but also knowledge itself in its humanistic, religious, and natural historical incarnations.” Sheehan, “From Philology to Fossils,” 49-50.

86 Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and Neighbouring Nations, which Edwards owned (WJE, 26:342); Samuel Shuckford, The Sacred and Prophane History of the World Connected, from the Creation of the World to the Dissolution of the Assyrian Empire at the Death of Saranapalus, and to the Declension of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, under the Reigns of Ahaz and Pekah, 2d ed., 3 vols. (London: H. Knaplock and J. and R. Tonson, 1731-40), which was intended to serve as an introduction to Humphrey Prideaux’s work; and Bedford, The Scripture Chronology Demonstrated by Astronomical Calculations, which Edwards cited frequently. He also knew of many other ancient/biblical histories, including Archbishop James Ussher’s Annals of the World . . . (London: E. Tyler for J. Crook and G. Bedell, 1658), which Edwards listed in his “Catalogue” but might not have acquired, as no evidence remains that he engaged it (WJE, 26:145-46). N.B. Though Ussher remains the best-known chronologer today, he was neither the first to claim that God created the world 4,000 years before Jesus, nor a pioneer in the field, nor unrivaled in his day. His chief claim to fame is that he took the earlier calculations of scholars like Joseph Scaliger and the Jesuit Denis Pétau, made them more precise with help from recent scholarship in astronomy, and made them more accessible to the Anglo-American world. For more on biblical chronology in the early modern West, see especially Anthony Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, 2 vols., Oxford-Warburg Studies (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983-1993); James Barr, “Why the World Was Created in 4004 B.C.: Archbishop Ussher and Biblical Chronology,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 67 (Spring 1985): 575-608; Johanna Roelevink, “In the Beginning Was Chronology: An Early Eighteenth-Century Attempt to Model the Eschaton on the Creation,” in Prophecy and Eschatology, ed. Michael Wilks, Studies in Church History (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1994), 151-66; James Barr, “Pre-scientific Chronology: The Bible and the Origin of the World,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 143 (September 1999): 379-87; Howard Hotson, Paradise Postponed: Johann Heinrich Alsted and the Birth of Calvinist Millenarianism, Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idées (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000), 33-105; Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment, 60-67; Katz, God’s Last Words, 101-108; David N. Livingstone, Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 3-5, 8-11; and William Poole, The World Makers: Scientists of the Restoration and the Search for the Origins of the Earth, The Past in the Present (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010), 39-44. On Ussher himself, see R. Buick Knox, James Ussher: Archbishop of Armagh (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1967).

87 The locus classicus remains the work Jerry Wayne Brown, The Rise of Biblical Criticism in America, 1800-1870: The New England Scholars (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1969). In addition to the work cited in n. 13 above, see also Ira V. Brown, “The Higher Criticism Comes to America, 1880-1900,” Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society 38 (December 1960): 193-212; Walter F. Peterson, “American Protestantism and the Higher Criticism, 1870-1910,” Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters 50 (1961): 321-29; Warner M. Bailey, “William Robertson Smith and American Biblical Studies,” Journal of Presbyterian History 51 (Fall 1973): 285-308; Jerry Dean Campbell, “Biblical Criticism in America 1858-1892: The Emergence of the Historical Critic” (Ph.D. diss., University of Denver, 1982); and Michael L. Kamen, “The Science of the Bible in Nineteenth-Century America: From ‘Common Sense’ to Controversy, 1820-1900” (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 2004).
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