February 2008: Books Read

Since much of what I do as a student is read, I thought you might be interested in what I’ve had my nose buried in these last 29 days. Although I read a lot of excerpts and articles, I’ll just list here those books that I read from beginning to end. (not those I read from end to beginning, which was none. This month.)

1. Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden

Mary gave me this one for Christmas, and fortuitously I was able to read it for my class, “The Christian Pastor in Historical Perspective.” I tried to read a different biography of Edwards a few years ago, and I must admit that I got just under halfway through before I was too bored to continue. I thought at the time, “How interesting can reading about a guy’s life possibly be if he spends 13 hours a day in his study?” After reading Marsden’s book, my answer to that question is, “Extremely, if the right person is writing about him.” Marsden does a wonderful job of setting Edwards in his 18th century context: as a Puritan, as an early American, as a revivalist, as a theologian, and as an intellectual with his finger on the pulse of the thinking of his day. While it paints a sympathetic portrait, it is by no means hagiographical. Edwards had faults, but he is worth reading about if for no other reason than to learn about the influence he had on religion in the United States.

2. The Search for Christian America by Marsden, Mark Noll and Nathan Hatch.
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