Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Shed Swing

I've had a look at the syllabuses for two of my classes this semester. Having done so, I'm dropping a course on the devotional lives of a few great saints. Its syllabus was just too complicated. This means I'll probably take the course on Jonathan Edwards with Sang Hyun Lee after all. I'm hoping that the grade for that course will simply be based on one final paper.

So, any ideas for my paper on Edwards? I could continue my quest for a Reformed philosophy of history by looking at Edwards on history. I suspect this would be quite difficult. Unlike Shedd and Warfield the writings of Edwards are vast. Too vast to select one or two key texts and feel confident that they are representative.

Perhaps a paper on Edwards as pastor - I think I'd be very critical of him in this regard, though. And, how do you actually assess that question anyhow? On top of the fact that I find Edwards difficult to read, I think there is a difference between a history of the life and work of Edwards, and an appreciation of his theology. I find it strange that people often write about Edwards with reference to his sermons and writings - as if those were the measure of his life and work as a pastor. A recent article I read suggested the Edwards failed as a pastor. Even though the article was based on slightly dated research, I think the author (Donald Capps, a prominent pastoral theology professor) was touching on something. Some of the decisions that Edwards made in his pastoral ministry were misguided, if not bizarre. His ecclesiology was also peculiar.

Again, please suggest themes, questions, or topics for my paper. It might be a good exercise for me to write something that I've been asked to research.

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