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Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Murray)

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When it first appeared in 1987, this book was the first full-length life of Jonathan Edwards to appear for almost fifty years. In the meantime the Pastor of Northampton, Missionary to the Indians in Stockbridge, and President of the New Jersey College (later Princeton) has been increasingly recognized as the greatest intellectual figure in eighteenth-century America.

Never before has so much material by Edwards or such detailed studies of his thought been available. Yet many of those who have led this renaissance of Edwards studies remain personally out of sympathy with almost every one of their subject’s personal convictions.

Special interest therefore attaches to Iain H. Murrary’s carefully-researched biography. Writing with the easy style, spiritual insight and sympathy with his subject which marks his other biographical works, Murray builds on the older lives of Edwards, but also harvests material from more recent studies.

Iain Murray believes that Edwards cannot be understood apart from his faith. Only when seen first and foremost as a Christian do his life and writings make sense. The integrity of this interpretation is confirmed in this study as Edwards is allowed on point after point to speak for himself.

The result is a biography which is both factually and theologically reliable. Edwards’ theology is set in the context of his everyday life in public and private. His family relationships punctuate the narrative, adding both interest and pathos. This outstanding study is not only an exceptional biography; it also serves as a classic illustration of how the church today can and should learn from its past history.

Table of Contents: 

Introduction: On Understanding Edwards

1. The Son of East Windsor

2. ‘That New Sense of Things’

3. New York: The Pursuit of Holiness

4. Tutor at Yale

5. Stoddard and Northampton 

6. The Green Valley of Humiliation

7. The Breaking of the Spirit of Slumber

8. ‘Thirteen Hours, Every Day’

9. The Great Awakening

10. Personal Portraits 

11. Division and Disorder

12. The Defense of Experimental Religion

13. ‘The Religious Affections’

14. Changes at Northampton and Beyond

15. The International Union and Missionary Vision

16. The Communion Controversy

17. Behind the Controversy

18. Removal

19. Strife in a Frontier Village

20. Missionary to the Indians

21. Through Esther’s Eyes

22. ‘My God Lives’

23. The Continuing Ministry


1. Edwards’ Published Writings

2. The Edwards’ Manuscripts 

3. A Letter of Sarah Edwards, 1750

4. An Anecdote on Whitefield and ‘the Witness of the Holy Spirit’ 


"No man is more relevant to the present conditions of Christianity than Jonathan Edwards…He was a mighty theologian and a great evangelist at the same time. If you want to know anything about true revival, Edwards is the man to consult. My advice is, read Jonathan Edwards. Go back to something solid and deep and real." — D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Iain Hamish Murray, born in Lancashire, England, in 1931, was educated at Wallasey Grammar School and King William’s College in the Isle of Man (1945-49). From 1956 he was for three years assistant to Dr Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel and there, with the late Jack Cullum, founded the Banner of Truth Trust in 1957. He left Westminster in 1961 for a nine-year pastorate at Grove Chapel, Camberwell. With the world-wide expansion of the Trust, Iain Murray became engaged full-time in its ministry from 1969 until 1981 when he responded to a call from St Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney, Australia. Now based again in the UK, he and Jean live in Edinburgh.