Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Edwards as Interpreter in an Enlightenment Context

The following quotation accurately describes my own experience and understanding both of Edwards and the current state of affairs in modern biblical studies. Having recently completed a master's degree in biblical exegesis, it is one of the reasons I'm so drawn to Edwards.
Edwards tried to interpret the Bible theologically. He handled it not as a collection of antiquarian artifacts, but as the living Word of One who calls himself "I Am." Thus he studied it both as scholars study sets of primary sources (to understand the lives of those for whom they were first put to writing) and—in a manner more important to his daily pastoral ministry—as priestly theologians study the oracles of God (to understand his will for those who still have ears to hear). This sets him apart from many other Western biblical scholars, whether Christian or non-Christian. For higher criticism has ruled the roost in modern biblical studies, shaping the ways that even pastors think of preaching Sunday sermons. 
—Douglas A. Sweeney, Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word: A Model of Faith and Thought (InterVarsity, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2009), 96.

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