Scholars have long recognized that Jonathan Edwards loved the Bible. But preoccupation with his roles in Western "public" life and letters has led to a failure to see the significance of his biblical exegesis. The lion's share of his time during every week of his life was spent wrestling with the words of holy writ. In Edwards the Exegete, Douglas A. Sweeney fills this lacuna by exploring his exegesis and its significance for Christian thought and intellectual history. After reconstructing Edwards' lost exegetical world and describing his place within it, Sweeney summarizes his four main approaches to the Bible (canonical, Christological, redemptive-historical, and pedagogical) and analyzes his work on selected biblical themes that illustrate these four approaches-focusing on material that is emblematic of Edwards' larger interests as a scholar. Sweeney compares his work to that of his most frequent interlocutors and places it in the context of the history of exegesis, challenging preconceived notions about the state of Christianity in the age of the Enlightenment.
In doing so, Sweeney offers others a helpful guide to Edwards' exegetical work and clears a path for later specialists to follow. This book makes a major contribution to Edwards studies, eighteenth-century studies, the history of exegesis, the theological interpretation of Scripture, and homiletics.