The Ecumenical Edwards

I’m excited to say that my new edited volume, The Ecumenical Edwards: Jonathan Edwards and the Theologians (Ashgate) was Ecumenical Edwardsjust released. This is my attempt to address the idea, now ubiquitous in Edwards studies, that Edwards can be utilized as an Ecumenical theologian. It is, of course, hard to know what that might mean. Up until this point, the focus has been on how Edwards’s unique development of a variety of doctrines seems, at least at first glance, to mirror or overlap with Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic developments. My own focus is a bit different. I suggest, in the introduction, that Edwards’s ecumenical potential lies in two features of his thought: First, his greatness, and second, his distinctively Reformed greatness. In other words, Edwards should be utilized ecumenically because he is great in his own tradition (similarly to how Barth is often employed).

Following these same notions, I am convinced that the disciples of a given thinker cannot claim his or her worth. In other words, it is not surprising that Edwards scholars would be making bold claims about Edwards’s potential. Rather, to really justify these claims, the Church catholic must weigh in. Therefore, I assembled a contributor list of Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and a wide-variety of Protestant thinkers to engage Edwards with their own expertise. Seven out of the thirteen chapters were written by non-Edwards scholars, and what came out was truly beautiful. Notice that along with my own contribution, Theology Forum’s own Kent Eilers adds an excellent chapter on prayer utilizing Edwards and Pannenberg. See the Table of Contents below:

Introduction, Kyle Strobel

Part I Comparison and Assessment

1.     Seeking salvation: Jonathan Edwards and Nicholas Cabasilas on life in Christ, Alexis Torrance

2.     Anselm and Edwards on God, Oliver D. Crisp

3.     New science of sacrifice, Peter J. Leithart

4.     Jonathan Edwards: ‘Discourse on the Trinity’, Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.

5.     Edwards and Luther on free/bound willing, Robert W. Jenson

6.     The beauty of Christ: Edwards and Balthasar on theological aesthetics, Kyle Strobel

7.     The sophiology of Jonathan Edwards, David J. Dunn

Part II Constructive Engagement for Current Conversations

8.     Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Aquinas on original sin, Matthew Levering

9.     Jonathan Edwards, John Henry Newman, and Karl Barth: is a typological view of reality legitimate?, Gerald R. McDermott

10. Jonathan Edwards and Alasdair MacIntyre: interdependence, community, and contemporary virtue ethics, Elizabeth Agnew Cochran

11. The erotic side of divine participation: Jonathan Edwards, Gregory of Nyssa, and Origen of Alexandria on Song of Songs 1:1-4, Brandon G. Withrow

12. The surprising third article theology of Jonathan Edwards, Myk Habets

13. Jonathan Edwards and Wolfhart Pannenberg toward Trinitarian prayer, Kent Eilers

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