Inspiration for Visual Edwards

Visual Edwards 3.85 is currently undergoing beta testing with development of documentation and other feature helps.

The following quotes from Thomas Schafer’s introduction to WJE volume 13 The “Miscellanies” are the inspiration for creating Visual Edwards, a tool that opens up in a new way the matrix of connections in Edwards’s writings.

“This meticulous organization reveals a rigorous and disciplined mind, but the wide-ranging subject matter of the notebooks shows that his discipline was not a hindrance to creativity. On the contrary, compositions that Edwards could access through the Table provided not only finished materials ready to hand but also thoughts that became stimuli to further speculation. Without the Table, the vast bulk of the “Miscellanies” would have rendered its resources very difficult even for its own author to exploit (113). The Table, therefore, is far more than an ordinary index and deserves study as a theological document in its own right (114) … the Table became Edwards’ central apparatus for organizing not only his “Miscellanies” entries but the entirety of his theological thought and the growing body of compositions in which he expressed it (120). Because Edwards himself varied considerably in the degree of completeness with which he indexed entries beyond their main subject headings, no effort could be made to achieve uniformity in this respect without greatly expanding the Table and changing its basic character (122).”

WJE 13:113, 114, 120, 122

Succinct overviews of the Visual Edwards project have been recently published in the Polish Journal of American Studies, “Visualizing Jonathan Edwards,” and chapter 14 of Regeneration, Revival, and Creation: Religious Experience and the Purposes of God in the Thought of Jonathan Edwards, “Imaging Divine Things: Creation, Typology, and the Visual Edwards.” Below is a selection from Cameron Schweitzer’s book review of Regeneration, Revival, and Creation which appeared in the April 2021 issue of the Calvin Theological Journal.

Part 3 focuses on Edwards’s protology and contains important additions to debated topics in Edwards scholarship relating to his idealism and God’s “dispositions” (205). Beyond these traditional discussions, though, Lisanne Winslow and Robert Boss provide cutting edge research into one of the more intriguing areas of Edwards’s thought with their discussions of his “natural typology” (223). In her chapter, Winslow presents a unique framework for understanding Edwards’s “onto-types” (223). Building on her expertise in biology and biochemistry, she proposes, perhaps controversially, that Edwards’s view of God’s emblematic communication goes “all the way down” to the cellular level (228). That is to say, Winslow contends, even the protozoa speak God’s poetry. Boss then helps the reader to appreciate the extent to which Edwards’s intricate web of typological theologizing is diffused throughout his immense corpus. In the chapter, Boss employs his fascinating “JEViewer,” a visual, mental-mapping research tool that is reframing and reshaping—literally—the landscape of Edwards studies (249–50). These chapters are a must-read for those interested in exciting new developments springing up in this scholastic field.

Full review courtesy CTJ available here