Jonathan Edwards: A Life
Stock No: WW105967
Jonathan Edwards: A Life   -     By: George M. Marsden

Jonathan Edwards: A Life

Yale University Press / 2003 / Paperback

Expected to ship on or about 03/30/24.
Stock No: WW105967

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Expected to ship on or about 03/30/24.
Stock No: WW105967
Yale University Press / 2003 / Paperback

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Product Description

Jonathan Edwards led a rich intellectual and spiritual life that went far beyond the more well known fire-and-brimestone sermons he delivered in colonial America. In this biography, Edwards' life is carefully detailed from observing God's handiwork from his childhood through his adolescent struggles with faith. Marsden, a highly regarded American church historian, discusses Edwards' powerful preaching in the revivals that dominated the Connecticut Valley in the First Great Awakening and beyond and evaluates Edwards' successful mission to the Indians.

Garnering an amazing amount of notariety, Jomathan Edwards: A Life was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the biography category for books published in 2003; winner of the 2001-2003 Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize sponsored by the Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies; winner of the 2004 Bancroft Prize sponsored by Columbia University; winner of the 2004 Merle Curti Award in intellectual history given by the Organization of American Historians; won the 2004 John C. Pollock Award for Christian Biography sponsored by the Beeson Divinity School and Samford University; co-winner of the 2004 Eugene Genovese Best Book in American History Prize sponsored by the Historical Society; selected as one of the Best Books of 2003 by Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post Book World, Christian Century, Books & Culture, Beliefnet, Publishers Weekly, and Christian Science Monitor; featured in Preaching magazine as "one of the top ten books every preacher should read"; selected as an outstanding book by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries; winner of the 2005 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion; short-listed by The English-Speaking Union for the Ambassador Book Awards; won the 2004 Christianity Today Magazine Book Award in the History/Biography category.; and won the Philip Schaff Prize sponsored by the American Society of Church History.

George M. Marsden is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.

Product Information

Title: Jonathan Edwards: A Life
By: George M. Marsden
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 640
Vendor: Yale University Press
Dimensions: 9.3 X 6.2 (inches)
Weight: 1 pound 12 ounces
ISBN: 0300105967
ISBN-13: 9780300105964
Series: Great by Faith Biography
Stock No: WW105967

Publisher's Description

Winner of the Bancroft Prize • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography • Finalist for the American Society of Church History’s Philip Schaff Prize
"The finest biography of this towering figure. . . . Marsden guides readers through Edwards’s profoundly alien world with authority and fluidity."—Benjamin Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly
A controversial theologian and the author of the famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) ignited the momentous Great Awakening of the eighteenth century. In this definitive and long-awaited biography, Jonathan Edwards emerges as both a great American and a brilliant Christian. George Marsden evokes the world of colonial New England in which Edwards was reared—a frontier civilization at the center of a conflict between Native Americans, French Catholics, and English Protestants. Drawing on newly available sources, Marsden demonstrates how these cultural and religious battles shaped Edwards’s life and thought. Marsden reveals Edwards as a complex thinker and human being who struggled to reconcile his Puritan heritage with the secular, modern world emerging out of the Enlightenment. In this, Edwards’s life anticipated the deep contradictions of our American culture.
Meticulously researched and beautifully composed, this biography offers a compelling portrait of an eminent American.

Author Bio

George M. Marsden is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He has written numerous books, including The Soul of the American University and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship.

Editorial Reviews

"Magnificent. . . . This is a book that tells us as much about the intellectual foundations of America as it does about Jonathan Edwards."—Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph

"It may not stretch the evidence to call Jonathan Edwards the most important religious figure in American history. . . . [Edwards’] arguments [are] analyzed with great skill and sensitivity in Jonathan Edwards: A Life. . . . Marsden, himself an evangelical believer, puts Edwards back where he belongs, firmly in the theological world of the Reformation. . . . Marsden makes a convincing case for his greatness."—Garry Wills, New York Times Book Review

"Whether the reader is an academic . . . or a nonprofessional, this imaginative, . . . sympathetic reading of Edwards's life is informative and enjoyable."—John P. Fitzgibbons, America

"It will endure as the standard account."—E. Brooks Holifield, American Historical Review

"This universally lauded biography portrays America’s greatest theologian, 300 years after his birth."—Richard N. Ostling, Associated Press

"This biography of one of the founding fathers of American religion is the first to appear in 60 years. The fact that it is an emotionally complex, almost novelistic account by one of the country’s foremost evangelical thinkers makes it an extraordinary read."—Paul Elie, (A Best Spiritual Book of the Year Finalist)

"Better than anyone else before, Marsden enters Edwards’ world—physically, mentally, and spiritually—and helps us understand his significance as an 18th-century leader. . . . Marsden tells a wonderful story, enriching his narrative with a wealth of little-known gems from Edwards’ world."—Douglas Sweeney, Books & Culture

"Marsden has succeeded in the daunting task of exploring the fullness of Edwards’s life and work while avoiding hagiography or demonization. Marsden’s style is clear and his research thorough, yielding an unapologetic account of one of America’s most amazing personalities. . . . A volume that will stand for generations. Recommended."—Choice

"Marsden has written a life of Edwards the way Edwards would have liked such a life to be written."—Allen C. Guelzo, Christian Century

"In this conscientious and eloquent biography, pious Jonathan Edwards comes to unruly life with all his unresolved complexity intact."—Thomas D’Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor

"The author thoroughly demolishes the stereotype of Edwards as the purveyor of sadistic religion that damns most people to hell. Setting him and his ideas in context like no other, Marsden handles Edwards’s complex ideas with brilliant clarity without oversimplifying them."—Christianity Today

"It is one of the great merits of Marsden’s biography that he shows us the decidedly unheroic aspect of Edwards’ life (which is, of course, the stuff of every human life) while at the same time doing justice both to his towering intellectual achievements and to his incandescent faith, animated by a palpable sense of the sheer beauty and majesty of God. Neither debunking nor hagiographic, it is an almost supernaturally fair-minded portrait."—John Wilson, Christianity Today

"What non-specialists have needed for some time is an accessible biography that integrates his tumultuous ministerial career with his serenely logical mind. That need has at last been met, thanks to the magisterial synthesis of Edwards’s life and thought presented in George Marsden’s Jonathan Edwards."—Christopher D. Levenick, Claremont Review of Books

"Not only the definitive biography but also a narrative that reads like a novel. . . . [Marsden] lets Edwards' magnificence shine through."—Edward T. Oakes, Commonweal

"One of the grand features of this latest biography of Edwards is Marsden’s success in demonstrating that Edwards was far more than a mere intellect."—Scott A. Wenig, Denver Post

"Marsden provides a less tidy, which is to say, much more complete, account of Edwards’ life and work, bringing in a wealth of detail that forces us to qualify practically everything we had ever heard about Edwards. . . . By showing the complexity of the man and correcting many of the misunderstandings about him, Marsden has prepared the way for serious conversation with him."—George McKenna, First Things

"George M. Marsden is truly a Christian scholar who respects both the Faith and the canons of historical research. . . . In this finely presented biography, Edwards stands forth both as an historical being and a Christian. If one wants to understand him and his world, this biography is the starting point."—H-Net Book Review

"Magisterial. . . . Definitive, and it will remain so for decades to come."—Avihu Zakai, Journal of American History


"George Marsden's study of Jonathan Edwards is a magnificent one. While admittedly sympathetic to Edwards's Augustinian and Calvinistic theology, Marsden examines the life of this greatest of American minds with a great deal of clear-sightedness."—Don M. Shipley, Jr., Journal of Church and State

"Splendid. . . . Scholarly, balanced, fair-minded, and highly readable. . . . Ministerial students would profit immeasurably by reading Marsden’s vivid account of Edwards’s shining integrity and glaring flaws as a pastor."—Joe E. Barnhart, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"A very readable biography."—William O. Paulsell, Lexington Theological Quarterly

"A comprehensive, compelling, and intensely human portrait of Edwards. . . . Marsden’s accessible style will appeal to laypeople and scholars alike. . . . This meticulously researched look at one of America’s most prominent thinkers and theologians is sure to set the standard for future studies of Jonathan Edwards’s life and work."—Pegge Bochynski, Magill’s Literary Annual

"This is the first full-scale critical biography of Edwards in 60 years. Marsden’s biography represents the re-awakening of great scholarship on the works, life, and influence of Jonathan Edwards. . . . The book is accessible to a general audience, but it does not surrender rigor for academic use. Marsden offers a balanced perspective on Edwards who was clearly a great figure in the history of early America and in the history of western philosophy."—Joseph W. Ulatowski, Metapsychology

"[An] excellent, fascinating biography. . . . Absorbing."—Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

"Marsden’s elegant prose and vivid, vivacious storytelling brings Edwards to life. This magisterial and definitive biography reveals the complexities of Edwards’s life and provides new appreciation for his commitment to fostering religious sensibilities in the increasingly secular world of his time. This is a beautifully written book about one of America’s most important thinkers."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Winner of the Philip Schaff Prize sponsored by the American Society of Church History

A finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award in the biography category

Winner of the 2001-2003 Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize sponsored by the Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Winner of the 2004 Bancroft Prize in American History

"At last! A highly readable biography of Jonathan Edwards that takes account of the mountain of recent Edwards scholarship and is willing to acknowledge the agonies and ambiguities as well as the triumphs of Edwards life. A great companion to the Jonathan Edwards Reader and TheJonathan Edwards Sermons."—Amy Plantinga Pauw, Louisville Presbyterian Seminary

"Marsden has brought together in a magisterial synthesis the details of the man’s daily life and the range of ideas that challenged the assumptions of his time and ours."—Edmund S. Morgan

"In this biography, Marsden has produced a masterpiece. It is eloquent, reliable, and comprehensive. I found it insightful and inspiring throughout."—George S. Claghorn, West Chester University, editor of Letters and Personal Writings of Jonathan Edwards

"This is the finest biography of Edwards that I have read. It will be the standard benchmark for Edwards scholarship for generations to come."—Harry S. Stout, Yale University

"There is no question that Marsden’s biography is the best book ever written about America’s (and perhaps the world’s) greatest theologian."—Sam T. Logan, Jr., Westminster Theological Seminary

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