About

A Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University in partnership with William Eerdmans Publishing Company.

 1. Rationale. Interest in Jonathan Edwards, who has been called the most significant figure in American religious history, is at an unprecedented high. The Jonathan Edwards Center offers, free of charge, a comprehensive online archive of Edwards’ writings, including the twenty-six volumes of the Yale edition plus previously unpublished materials totaling 75 volumes: The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online. Max Lesser’s comprehensive bibliography, Reading Edwards, published by Eerdmans, shows books, articles, graduate works and other writings on Edwards surpassing four thousand titles. Lesser’s valuable compilation, along with the forthcoming overview of Edwards’ thought, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards, by Gerald McDermott and Michael McClymond (Oxford), point to the call for reference works to help readers navigate their way through the intimidating range of writings by and about Edwards, the breadth and depth of his thought, and the historical context in which he lived. Thus far, no encyclopedic work on Edwards has been attempted. A Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia will fill that need.

2. Audience. The Works of Jonathan Edwards has been in print since the 1950s, and has garnered over 75,000 lifetime sales, primarily to libraries. The Jonathan Edwards Center’s website (edwards.yale.edu) sees monthly traffic of nearly 30,000 unique visitors from over 100 countries. Surveys, registered user profiles, and webtrend analyses show that the majority of our users and readers are pastors, seminarians, and religious leaders, while scholars and specialists make up a significant minority along with educated members of the general public.

3. Contributors. The Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia would be produced under the auspices of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, with Harry S. Stout acting as General Editor and Kenneth Minkema and Adriaan Neele as Editors. By virtue of the extensive network of relations we have built in the Edwards community of scholars over the past two decades and more, the Jonathan Edwards Center has access to an unmatched range of possible contributors, from mature scholars to newly minted graduate students to pastor-scholars and seminarians. What is more, this network is increasingly international, which will bring new global perspectives to the Edwards Encyclopedia. The accompanying preliminary list includes potential contributors for a number of the entries.

4. Format. We envisage a work comprising up to 450 entries, arranged alphabetically. Entries will fall under several categories, including doctrinal loci; topics in philosophy, theology and religious culture; social categories; historical events, biographies, and writings. Each entry will have as its goal providing a general description of the topic, but also its relevance to Edwards, or his particular contribution to it.

The Edwards Encyclopedia would be structured in entries of varying lengths, as follows:

Long: 2,000 words or less

Medium: 1,000 words or less

Short: 500 words or less

Bio, Event, Place: 100 words or less

Using these figures, the preliminary list of entries accompanying this proposal (which is subject to refinement) would amount to an approximate total of 267,000 words.

5. Timeframe.  The preliminary timeline is:

January-December 2012: Solicitation phase and contracts

Contributors’ entries may be submitted from October 1, 2013 onwards

January 2014 onwards: Preliminary review of submissions

Revisions due March 15, 2014

Contributors’ entries final due date: June 15, 2014

Submission to publisher December 2014

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