The Forgotten Edwards

Volume 3 in A Series of Treatises on Jonathan Edwards

JESociety Press is pleased to announce A Series of Treatises on Jonathan Edwards, an all new series given exclusively to the select publication of cutting-edge research related to America’s greatest theologian. The series provides authors with a venue for publishing original, concise, authoritative and peer-reviewed manuscripts. The series provides readers with lively, assessable and in-depth treatments of Edwards-specific subject matter. Inquiries are welcome. Contact us at


The “other” Jonathan Edwards has never received the attention his work as New Haven pastor, dedicated theologian, and interpreter of his famous father’s legacy deserves. With especially fruitful use of the younger Edwards’ manuscript sermons, this carefully researched book goes a long way to redress that undeserved neglect.

Mark Noll, author of In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783

Jonathan Edwards, Jr. played a crucial but still largely unappreciated role as a conduit of his father’s varied legacies. In this fine study by an up-and-coming scholar, that role is paid respect and Edwards Jr.’s own honor and legacy are defended against their critics, past and present. Many thanks to John Banks for coloring in our understanding of the Edwardsean tradition in Revolutionary America.

Douglas A. Sweeney, Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

This study offers an engaging account of a pastor and divine whose career included an early exposure to missions among Mohican and Mohawks, public debates about the culture of reason and Calvinism, the American Revolution, contestations over the abolition of slavery, and changes in the practice of collegiate education in New England. Based on deep original archival research and a solid grasp on current scholarship, it brings to life the complications and tensions in the career of the namesake son of Jonathan Edwards. In so doing, it gives us a humane and lucid narrative of theology and its relation to social life when America became a nation.

Mark Valeri, The Reverend Priscilla Wood Neaves Distinguished Professor, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University in St. Louis

Jonathan Edwards Jr. has remained entirely in his father’s shadow. Moreover, there are also negative prejudices regarding his person and preaching. He is seen as a spiritless preacher under whom the spiritual life in the church was decreasing. Often he is only known for his moral government theory of atonement. Is this justified? Who was Jonathan Edwards Jr. who lost his father at the age of thirteen? John Banks has done us a great service by researching the life, theology and spirituality of the young Edwards. It turns out that he made an impression as a preacher in his day and that—like his father—he lived by the vital piety of the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. In his strength of thought he was not inferior to his father. His public significance in regard to the American Revolution and the advocacy of the abolition of slavery was great. A new world opens up to us in this study.

—Willem van Vlastuin, Chair of Theology and Spirituality of Reformed Protestantism in the Faculty of Religion and Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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