Atlantic History Jonathan Edwards
by
Mark Valeri
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 December 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 September 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0206

Introduction

A New England pastor and divine, Jonathan Edwards (b. 1703–d. 1758) was a celebrated religious thinker throughout the Atlantic world, well known from Boston to Glasgow. A Calvinist who helped to foster and defend the revivals known as the Great Awakening (1738–1742), he wrote about conversion, the knowledge of God in nature, moral sentiments, biblical history and eschatology, sacramental practices, and human moral competence. The variety of his writings, along with his use of Enlightenment scientific, philosophical, and moral teaching to defend evangelical Calvinism, has produced diverse interpretations. In his own lifetime, his defense of experimental Calvinism drew criticism from contemporaries of a rationalist bent. During the early 19th century, New England Calvinists and British Methodists highlighted his promotion of affective piety and missions. After the rise of Unitarianism and other forms of liberal Protestantism, many American interpreters dismissed him as a brilliant mystic sadly captivated by anachronistic theology. Interest in Edwards waned during the early 20th century (see Conforti 1995 for the history of interpretation, cited under Legacies). After the Second World War, however, the popularity of critical realism and Neo-Orthodox theology suggested a recovery of Edwards, exemplified by Miller 2005 (cited under Biography), as an astute philosopher and social critic. A burst of writings about Edwards’s ethical teachings, focused on beauty and virtue, followed. Influenced by the new social history, religious historians produced important studies of local affairs and his role as a pastor during the 1970s and 1980s. During the late 1980s and 1990s, a cadre of specialists reinvigorated the Yale edition of Edwards (Miller, et al. 1957–2008, cited under Primary Sources) and produced voluminous transcriptions of his manuscript writings. This accompanied a remarkable revival of interest in Edwards, shaped by recent philosophical and theological concerns and by the prominence of Protestant evangelicalism in American public life. This bibliography highlights these postwar developments. It does not include a discrete section on a central issue—Edwards and the Great Awakening—because nearly every book on the Awakening features Edwards and nearly every study of Edwards addresses his support for the revivals, e.g., Marsden 2003 (cited under Biography). Other important issues, such as Edwards as literary artist or his work on missions to Indians, are not given a separate heading. Yet essays on these and other topics are included in many of the anthologies noted here.

Introductory Studies and Overviews

Introductions to Edwards have typically focused on summaries of major theological themes in his writings. Byrd 2008 is a nontechnical yet accurate account of Edwards’s thought, while Smith 1992 presents a more philosophical discussion of discrete themes such as sin or virtue. Cherry 1990 misses much of the latest scholarship yet helpfully sets Edwards’s thought in larger historical context, including the revivals. McClymond and McDermott 2012 attempt an ambitious synthetic account that is more steadfastly theological, arguing for a theologically orthodox Edwards. Driven less by contemporary religious agendas are the three anthologies mentioned here. Lee 2005 presents essays on different theological topics, sometimes quite technical. McDermott 2009 contains introductory essays on themes with responses by European commentators. Stein 2007 offers essays that summarize the latest and best work on Edwards from the vantage of early American religious history, focusing on topics of social import such as revivals, missions, and preaching. Ward 1992 is the best study of the British and European contexts for the American revivals that engaged Edwards.

  • Byrd, James P. Jonathan Edwards for Armchair Theologians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2008.

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    A simple, nontechnical introduction to Edwards that covers major themes in a responsible manner. Especially lucid summaries of Edwards on original sin and the nature of virtue.

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    • Cherry, Conrad. The Theology of Jonathan Edwards: A Reappraisal. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

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      A well-rounded, accessible introduction that covers major themes from Edwards’s published writings. The “reappraisal” refers to Cherry’s attempt to present Edwards as a Calvinist theologian rather than, as the literature of the mid-20th-century held, a mystic and proto-Romantic. First published in 1974.

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      • Lee, Sang Hyun, ed. The Princeton Companion to Jonathan Edwards. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

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        Essays by intellectual historians and theologians who provide introductions to and critical commentary on the major theological themes in Edwards’s work. They range from general statements to studies of topics such as ontology, Trinity, providence, free will, grace, the church, typology, eschatology, and missions, with concluding essays on Edwards and the Puritans, and Edwards and American theology.

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        • McClymond, Michael J., and Gerald R. McDermott. The Theology of Jonathan Edwards. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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          An introduction to Edwards in the form of an extensive account of major theological themes and Edwards’s influence on subsequent theology, with an exhaustive bibliography in the citations. It stresses the idea of beauty as the key to understanding Edwards’s theological project.

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          • McDermott, Gerald R., ed. Understanding Jonathan Edwards: An Introduction to America’s Theologian. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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            Introduces Edwards to nonspecialists with essays by a variety of historians on broad topics such as the Bible, typology, and philosophical theology. Each essay is paired with a brief response or critique essay.

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            • Smith, John E. Jonathan Edwards: Puritan, Preacher, Philosopher. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992.

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              Written by a philosopher of religion who helped with the renaissance of Edwards’s studies during the second half of the 20th century, it provides summaries of the intellectual background to and a discussion of Edwards’s major works on religious affections, the problem of human freedom, original sin, and redemption.

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              • Stein, Stephen J., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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                Intended as a basic introduction, this anthology of essays approaches Edwards through three overarching categories: biography and religious context, the various roles Edwards played (preacher, revivalist, theologian, philosopher, biblical exegete, missionary), and legacy. Each essay offers a splendid overview of Edwards according to key topics.

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                • Ward, W. R. The Protestant Evangelical Awakening. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511661075Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  An influential study of the rise and spread of evangelical or revivalistic Protestantism across Europe, Britain, and America. It sets Edwards in Atlantic context by describing how his thought was related to previous developments such as Continental Pietism, Moravianism, and British efforts toward revival.

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                  Primary Sources

                  There are dozens of editions of Edwards’s works, many of them produced during the 19th century and often reprinted especially by religious publishing houses. Yet the Yale edition—Miller, et al. 1957–2008—is the sine qua non. It contains updated editions with critical apparatus of every work previously published, along with edited transcriptions of previously unpublished writings: Edwards’s private notebooks, representative sermons, letters, notes on scripture, theological treatises, and catalogues of books. The online resource at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University offers access to digital transcriptions of sermons otherwise unpublished.

                  • Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University.

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                    This online resource provides access to forty-seven digital volumes of transcriptions of otherwise unpublished Edwards sermons, fully indexed and searchable, with more transcriptions in progress. It also provides search tools such as indices for the published Yale Works of Jonathan Edwards, online versions of the Works, and notices of recent publications about Edwards and primary source reprints.

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                    • Miller, Perry, John E. Smith, and Harry S. Stout, gen. eds. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. 26 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957–2008.

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                      This is the authoritative edition, with new editions of his previously published works and meticulous editions of his previously unpublished “Miscellanies” (personal notebooks), letters, notes on scripture, catalogues of books, and hundreds of representative sermons. Every volume, each introduced by a leading Edwards scholar, contains a substantial introductory essay.

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                      Bibliography

                      The recent revival of interest in Edwards continues to spark ongoing publication. The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University (cited under Primary Sources) provides frequent notice of new publications but is not in itself a bibliography. Otherwise, the two sources listed below serve as important bibliographies. Faust and Johnson 1962 provides a helpful bibliography that represents the state of Edwards scholarship through that date. Lesser 2008, however, is indispensable in all respects. Helpfully annotated, indexed, and arranged by chronological order of publication, it contains nearly every known work about Edwards through 2005.

                      • Faust, Clarence H., and Thomas H. Johnson, eds. Jonathan Edwards: Representative Selections, with Introduction, Bibliography, and Notes. Rev. ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1962.

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                        Provides a variety of selections from Edwards, a solid introduction to Edwards, and a helpful bibliography. The bibliography, with annotations, represents the state of scholarship on and interpretations of Edwards just before the burst of new Edwards scholarship during the last quarter of the 20th century.

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                        • Lesser, M. X. Reading Jonathan Edwards: An Annotated Bibliography in Three Parts, 1729–2005. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.

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                          This indispensable source is the near complete bibliography of works about Edwards from Edwards’s lifetime through 2005. It includes journal articles, dissertations, and books, arranged in chronological order, with helpful annotations and indices.

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                          Biography

                          The rehabilitation of Edwards as a figure of intellectual import and transatlantic significance began with Miller 2005, a resolutely intellectual biography. Miller lifted Edwards out of the homespun frame of provincial New England that Winslow 1940 used, controversially portraying Edwards as a Lockean social critic presciently diagnosing the ills of Western modernity. Marsden 2003 is the most complete and reliable biography, including insights from the latest work on Edwards manuscripts. A briefer study that focuses on Edwards and the revivals and is equally up to date is Gura 2005. Minkema 1988 provides details about Edward’s family history, useful as a resource rather than as a full biography.

                          • Gura, Philip F. Jonathan Edwards: America’s Evangelical. New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.

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                            A deft and economical biographical portrait. It sets Edwards chiefly in the context of the revivals, eschewing a broad-based intellectual history in favor of the religious and cultural history of mid-18th-century New England.

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                            • Marsden, George M. Jonathan Edwards: A Life. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

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                              The indispensable biography to date, providing a full portrait of Edwards’s intellectual life in social and cultural context. Containing fulsome citations, it describes Edwards as shaped by 18th-century hierarchical worldviews yet driven by Calvinism and a profound conversion experience to humane values. It includes previously unused materials on Edwards’s early and late career.

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                              • Miller, Perry. Jonathan Edwards. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.

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                                This is a reprint of the classic intellectual biography by Perry Miller, published in 1949. Miller energized the modern study of Edwards by portraying him as a progressive intellectual who combined Lockean philosophy with a profound examination of the foibles of human nature. It skimps on biographical facts and has a much-criticized thesis but retains its intellectual power. Introduction by John F. Wilson.

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                                • Minkema, Kenneth Pieter. “The Edwardses: A Ministerial Family in Eighteenth-Century New England.” PhD diss., University of Connecticut, 1988.

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                                  An illuminating and thoroughly documented account of Edwards’s family, with special attention to his father, Timothy. This is the best study of Edwards’s domestic context and the impact of family on his life.

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                                  • Winslow, Ola Elizabeth. Jonathan Edwards, 1703–1758: A Biography. New York: Macmillan, 1940.

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                                    One of the first reliable and full modern biographies. It is short on intellectual content but covers domestic affairs and Edwards’s career in an accessible manner.

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                                    Local History and Social Affairs

                                    Studies of Edwards and the town and county where he spent the majority of his career—Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts—flourished with the rise of the new social history, local history, and cultural studies. Previous works focused on Edwards as pastor and his relationships to parishioners and other churches in New England. Tracy 1979 revised our understanding, showing how Edwards responded to local social dynamics in Northampton. It remains the best study of the town. Dissertations by Foster 1967 and Sweeney 1986 document other issues, such as land settlement, class divisions, and local hierarchies. Nobles 2004 is especially helpful in setting Edwards’s career within the provincial political context and contests for power. Winiarski 2005 describes the socially fractious results of Edwards-the-revivalist, whose preaching sometimes encouraged wildly ecstatic religious experience. Chamberlain 2002 and Chamberlain 2012 present careful and sophisticated studies of gender, sexuality, and social roles, with often counterintuitive conclusions. Wheeler 2008 represents a growing attention to Edwards and his post-Northampton career as a missionary-preacher to Native Americans in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

                                    • Chamberlain, Ava. “Bad Books and Bad Boys: The Transformation of Gender in Eighteenth-Century Northampton.” New England Quarterly 75 (2002): 179–203.

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                                      An innovative study of the famous “Bad Book” episode, during which Edwards chastised his parishioners after he learned that several adolescent boys in Northampton had been caught reading sexually explicit books of midwifery. Chamberlain emphasizes how the incident reflected a contest between Edwards’s traditional sexual mores and new social habits that created a double standard between male and female moral responsibilities.

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                                      • Chamberlain, Ava. The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle: Marriage, Murder, and Madness in the Family of Jonathan Edwards. New York: New York University Press, 2012.

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                                        An intriguing micro-history that concerns Edwards’s paternal grandmother, who suffered from insanity and was divorced for adultery. It provides a study of gender, society, and domestic relationships in Edwards’s family.

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                                        • Foster, Mary C. “Hampshire County, Massachusetts, 1729–1754: A Covenant Society in Transition.” PhD diss., University of Michigan, 1967.

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                                          One of the few social histories of the county where Edwards spent most of his ministry. It pays attention to local politics and economics, most of which had to do with land ownership.

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                                          • Nobles, Gregory H. Divisions throughout the Whole: Politics and Society in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, 1740–1775. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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                                            The most astute study of the local and colonial politics—including party divisions, political quarrels, and economic struggles—in Edwards’s town and country. Although it is focused on the politics of revolution, it provides the political context for reading much of Edwards.

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                                            • Sweeney, Kevin Michael. “River Gods and Related Minor Deities: The Williams Family and the Connecticut River Valley, 1637–1790.” 2 vols. PhD diss., Yale University, 1986.

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                                              The best account of the various towns and family relations around Northampton and Edwards. It sets religious life in the context of local social history, drawing on archival sources.

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                                              • Tracy, Patricia J. Jonathan Edwards, Pastor: Religion and Society in Eighteenth-Century Northampton. New York: Hill and Wang, 1979.

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                                                A deeply researched study of town affairs and local social dynamics in Edwards’s Northampton. The best guide to situate Edwards in local religious life and society, it recounts how changes in parish life reflected larger social transformations, chiefly the rise of a commercial society.

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                                                • Wheeler, Rachel. To Live upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008.

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                                                  A deft study of two Indian communities that became Christian, one of them the Stockbridge Indians, to whom Edwards preached late in his career. Unlike previous studies, it argues that Edwards’s theology abetted the formation of a genuinely Indian form of Christianity.

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                                                  • Winiarski, Douglas L. “Jonathan Edwards, Enthusiast? Radical Revivalism and the Great Awakening in the Connecticut Valley.” Church History 74.4 (2005): 683–739.

                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0009640700100861Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    An important, revisionist essay that presents the radical implications of Edwards’s revivalist preaching. It recasts Edwards as an enthusiast who encouraged ecstatic religious experiences rather than as a sober Calvinist.

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                                                    Philosophical Theology and the Enlightenment

                                                    The term philosophical theology is used here to refer to religious writings that rest at the intersection between Christian belief and other forms of knowledge such as science, philosophy (especially epistemology), and non-Christian religions. This is to distinguish Edwards’s religious response to the Anglo-American Enlightenment of the 18th century from his work dedicated to doctrinal topics such as Christology, grace, or the Trinity. Along with the section on Legacies, this perhaps is the most productive area of Edwards studies that concern the Atlantic world. Recent interest in that field, and in religion as a cultural system, has provoked several studies of Edwards and the Enlightenment. Chai 1998 and McClymond 1998 give close studies of Edwards’s appropriation of Enlightenment epistemologies to defend Calvinism. Zakai 2003 and Zakai 2010 broaden the issue to encompass 18th-century ideas about history and science. These studies suggest that Edwards was no out-and-out critic of the standards of reason and scientific validity promoted by various Enlightenment figures. Rather, he worked within his cultural context in order to critique it and promote Calvinism. So too, McDermott 2000 presents evidence that Edwards adopted a somewhat sympathetic position toward other religions even though he turned that position against natural religion and deism. Nichols 2003, on the other hand, recasts Edwards as a resolutely staunch Calvinist, whose use of Enlightenment motifs was merely strategic. Daniel 1994 takes another turn altogether, deploying a semiotic, technically dense reading that teases out a theory of communication in a postmodern vein.

                                                    • Chai, Leon. Jonathan Edwards and the Limits of Enlightenment Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                                      A terse yet compelling essay that shows how Edwards read major Enlightenment figures such as Locke, Malebranche, and Leibniz. Edwards used these proponents of reason to probe for the limits of Enlightenment epistemologies. These philosophers, Edwards argued, demonstrated the tenuousness of natural reason.

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                                                      • Daniel, Stephen H. The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards: A Study in Divine Semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

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                                                        A dense but suggestive account of Edwards from a semiotic perspective. It stresses Edwards’s idea of divine communication, with attention to typological discourse, rational logic, and ontology.

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                                                        • McClymond, Michael J. Encounters with God: An Approach to the Theology of Jonathan Edwards. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                                          This brief study sets Edwards in the context of Enlightenment philosophy. It contends that Edwards linked an apology for Christian faith to modern and rational notions of the subjective nature of truth claims.

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                                                          • McDermott, Gerald R. Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods: Christian Theology, Enlightenment Religion, and Non-Christian Faiths. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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                                                            McDermott scoured Edwards’s “Miscellanies” and sermons for evidence of his thoughts on world religions. Edwards respected the religious sensibilities of Native Americans and admired Chinese religious teaching, while arguing that those and other traditions indicated the irrationality of natural religion and skepticism.

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                                                            • Nichols, Stephen J. An Absolute Sort of Certainty: The Holy Spirit and the Apologetics of Jonathan Edwards. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003.

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                                                              A lucid although slightly forced reading of Edwards that attempts to bring disparate theological themes together under the rubric of apologetics. It stresses the role of the Holy Spirit and Edwards’s Trinitarian theology in Edwards’s epistemology. A counter to reading Edwards as captive to Enlightenment categories.

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                                                              • Zakai, Avihu. Jonathan Edwards’s Philosophy of History: The Re-enchantment of the World in the Age of Enlightenment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

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                                                                Argues that Edwards confounded Newtonian physics, skeptical reason, and critical history with a compelling philosophy of history. Describes this philosophy as dominated by the rubric of conversion.

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                                                                • Zakai, Avihu. Jonathan Edwards’s Philosophy of Nature: The Re-enchantment of the World in the Age of Scientific Reasoning. New York: T & T Clark, 2010.

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                                                                  Describes Edwards’s religious philosophy as a response to Newtonian physics and the implicit materialism of the New Science. Locates Edwards among knowledgeable dissenters from within the Enlightenment, such as John Donne, Blaise Pascal, and William Blake.

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                                                                  Theology

                                                                  Intellectual, social, and cultural historians often give only brief attention to the technicalities of Edwards’s doctrinal thought, in part because he never produced a sustained or systematic theology. The recent revival of interest in Edwards, however, rests partly on religious concerns that have prompted close readings of his works in conversation with contemporary theologians. Much of this work is speculative and takes Edwards out of his historical context. Yet it can instruct historians on the deep historical precedents to Edwards’s thought, prevent misinterpretations of his religious ideas, and suggest new ways of reading him. Hundreds of works replicate standard interpretations of Edwards that insist on his evangelical and Calvinist convictions. Other works concern special topics, such as soteriology, eschatology, or Christology, that are not given a separate heading in this bibliography. The most sustained and well-developed studies concern the three secondary headings: Trinitarian Themes, Human Nature (or the problem of free will), and Typology and Biblical Interpretation, which also concerns Edwards’s literary techniques.

                                                                  Trinitarian Themes

                                                                  A burst of new scholarship on Edwards’s theology has illumined his appropriation of classical Christian doctrines of the Trinity. This, in part, is due to a renewed interest in the Trinity in contemporary theology and to a recovery of Edwards’s more philosophically oriented writings on the Trinity. Lee 1988 and Schweitzer 2012 present the most thorough and analytically dense studies, which focus on how Edwards limned the Trinity in terms of a disposition to relationship with others, of divine communication, and of cosmic harmony. While these works suggest that Edwards made innovations on classic theories, Holmes 2001 and Studebaker and Caldwell 2012 insist on Edwards’s complete orthodoxy, or conformity to Calvinist notions of divine glory. More accessible to the non-theologian than the above studies, Pauw 2002 explores the implications of Trinitarian debates, and how Edwards formulated the doctrine, for social life.

                                                                  • Holmes, Stephen R. God of Grace and God of Glory: An Account of the Theology of Jonathan Edwards. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.

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                                                                    Focuses on Edwards’s understanding of God’s self-glorification, which explains God’s interaction in the Trinity and the world.

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                                                                    • Lee, Sang Hyun. The Philosophical Theology of Jonathan Edwards. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.

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                                                                      An exploration of Edwards’s notion of divine being or the inner life of God within the three-person godhead. Highly technical and sometimes dense, it argues that Edwards described God not in static premodern terms as a collection of essences (omnipotence, omniscience, etc.) but rather in highly relational or interpersonal categories that Lee calls a dispositional ontology.

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                                                                      • Pauw, Amy Plantinga. The Supreme Harmony of All: The Trinitarian Theology of Jonathan Edwards. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

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                                                                        A theologically informed study of Edwards’s writing on the Trinity that describes his position as a fully developed and balanced Reformed doctrine. That is, Edwards embraced several models for understanding the Trinity, tending to those that linked the divine nature to the need for human sociability.

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                                                                        • Schweitzer, William M. God Is a Communicative Being: Divine Communicativeness and Harmony in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards. New York: T & T Clark, 2012.

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                                                                          Attempts to anchor Edwards’s theology in the concept of divine communication, bringing together ethics, apologetics, and practical theology under the concept of divine harmony. It challenges the idea that Edwards aligned his theology with Enlightenment ethics. Well documented with an excellent bibliography.

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                                                                          • Studebaker, Steven M., and Robert W. Caldwell III. The Trinitarian Theology of Jonathan Edwards: Text, Context, and Application. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012.

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                                                                            An introductory study of Edwards’s Trinitarian theological works, especially Discourse on the Trinity, Treatise on Grace, and various Miscellanies. A lucid and reasonably presented argument that Edwards’s Trinitarian theology was congruent with orthodox Protestant and evangelical doctrine rather than, as previous interpreters suggested, a critique of classical theism.

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                                                                            Human Nature

                                                                            Edwards was known as a promoter of revival, or a ministry that encouraged self-conscious conversion, during his lifetime. Toward the end of his life, he authored two large treatises that linked his ideas about conversion to the doctrine of original sin and classically Reformed teaching on human volition, that is, predestination and the inability of people to voluntarily and willfully choose to love God. These later works influenced theology in New England into the 19th century, making the issue of free will the central and sometimes definitive topic for debate between Calvinists and non-Calvinist Protestants in America. The two works mentioned here are the most thorough and capacious interpretations of Edwards and human nature. Crisp 2005 provides a precise discussion of Edwards’s works on the topic. Guelzo 1989 is a compelling account that sets Edwards within an intellectual narrative that illuminates American religious culture from the 1750s through the 1820s.

                                                                            • Crisp, Oliver D. Jonathan Edwards and the Metaphysics of Sin. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005.

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                                                                              A technically dense, philosophically precise discussion of Edwards on sin, moral responsibility, guilt, and necessity.

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                                                                              • Guelzo, Allen C. Edwards on the Will: A Century of American Theological Debate. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                This is the best study of the complicated issues of free will, predestination, and conversion in Edwards’s thought. It sets theological debates in a large and compelling intellectual narrative that suggests the cultural importance of technical debates about human volition.

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                                                                                Typology and Biblical Interpretation

                                                                                Many older studies of Edwards’s literary techniques pinpoint his use of typology, or the use of natural objects and literary symbols to represent metaphysical realities, without linking it to his reliance on the Bible as the ultimate source of divine revelation. Knight 1991 is a succinct and elegant survey of Edwards in this vein. Stein 1977, however, brings typology back into the discourse of scriptural reality. Brown 2002 provides the best study of Edwards’s approach to the Bible as a whole, including his use of modern, that is, 18th-century, historical and textual studies. This last work inserts Edwards into a transatlantic conversation about historical truth claims and Christian belief.

                                                                                • Brown, Robert E. Jonathan Edwards and the Bible. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                  An original work of intellectual history that sets Edwards’s approach to scripture in the context of 17th- and 18th-century biblical criticism. It suggests that Edwards accepted the leading scientific and historical studies while maintaining his evangelical religious perspective.

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                                                                                  • Knight, Janice. “Learning the Language of God: Jonathan Edwards and the Typology of Nature.” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 48 (1991): 531–551.

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                                                                                    On Edwards’s ideas about divine communication. It emphasizes Edwards’s writings on typology and his firm belief in divine revelation through nature and natural symbols.

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                                                                                    • Stein, Stephen J. “The Quest for the Spiritual Sense: The Biblical Hermeneutics of Jonathan Edwards.” Harvard Theological Review 70 (1977): 99–113.

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                                                                                      One of the seminal statements on Edwards’s exegetical methods. It discusses how Edwards used the idea of a spiritual sense or knowledge in combination with standard scriptural study.

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                                                                                      Ethics

                                                                                      Edwards scholars turned intently to his writings on ethics—the nature of virtue and relationship between ideas of the good and God—as one way to reassess his historical significance and import for contemporary social life. Holbrook 1973 gave a general statement, linking Edward’s ethics to his wider religious project. Delattre 1968 is a highly influential and profound reading that links Edwards’s ideas about being and goodness to his understanding of beauty, or aesthetics. Erdt 1980 adds several revisions to Delattre’s basic analysis. Fiering 1981, however, is the most thorough and precise study. An authoritative work on the intellectual context, it shows how Edwards’s ethics drew from contemporary moralists across the Atlantic, especially the Moral Sense school of Francis Hutcheson. Danaher 2004 inserts these studies of ethics and aesthetics back into a theological and Trinitarian context. Cochran 2011 places Edwards in conversation with contemporary ethicists who work within the framework of virtue as the key category.

                                                                                      • Cochran, Elizabeth Agnew. Receptive Human Virtues: A New Reading of Jonathan Edwards’s Ethics. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                        Sets Edwards’s ethics within the context of “virtue ethics,” placing him in conversation with contemporary moralists such as Alisdair MacIntyre. Stresses Edwards’s focus on Christian humility and understanding of grace rather than Aristotelian ideas of virtue.

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                                                                                        • Danaher, William J., Jr. The Trinitarian Ethics of Jonathan Edwards. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2004.

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                                                                                          Presents an alternative to other studies that analyze Edwards’s ethics in terms of moral categories such as beauty or benevolence. It shifts the focus to the nature of God as Trinitarian being, and moves from the social nature of the three divine persons to the nature of virtue. It includes several attempts to use Edwards as a foil to critique contemporary theological ethicists such as Gene Outka, Stanley Hauerwas, and John Zizioulas.

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                                                                                          • Delattre, Roland André. Beauty and Sensibility in the Thought of Jonathan Edwards: An Essay in Aesthetics and Theological Ethics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1968.

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                                                                                            A classic and influential study that provides a sensitive and wide-ranging reading of Edwards’s theology of beauty. It links aesthetics to fundamental moral imperatives such as love and dominant theological themes such as divine glory.

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                                                                                            • Erdt, Terrence. Jonathan Edwards: Art and the Sense of the Heart. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980.

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                                                                                              A short but incisive study of how Edwards combined Lockean philosophy, Calvinist theology, and a robust aesthetics of nature into lyrical form. It offers a slight revision to Delattre’s classic study.

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                                                                                              • Fiering, Norman. Jonathan Edwards’s Moral Thought and Its British Context. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981.

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                                                                                                The definitive study of Edwards’s ethics, from philosophical underpinnings to ideas about virtue. It sets Edwards in the context of 18th-century British moral debates, offering a sophisticated study of the intellectual influences on, and targets of, Edwards’s thought.

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                                                                                                • Holbrook, Clyde A. The Ethics of Jonathan Edwards: Morality and Aesthetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1973.

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                                                                                                  A brief and lucid survey of the place of ethics in Edwards’s theology, resting on a selection of published sources.

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                                                                                                  Social and Political Thought

                                                                                                  While ethics refers to theoretical accounts of basic notions of virtue and the good, social and political thought refers to Edwards’s teachings on specific social issues in his day, from political and economic activity to slavery. Heimert 1966 was an important first sounding in this field. Yet it gives such a speculative and controversial argument, that is, Edwards’s theology implied an egalitarian social vision and the democratic politics of revolution, that scholars avoided writing about Edwards’s social thought until the 1990s. Using newly available manuscript sources, McDermott 1992 refreshed the topic with a balanced study of Edwards’s views on political authority and civic life. Noll 2002 provides a sound alternative to Heimert, setting Edwards in the context of a long story of an alliance between Protestant theology and republican political ideologies through the Civil War. Valeri 1991 used manuscript sermons to describe Edwards’s shifting attitudes toward economic exchange. Minkema 2002 presents Edwards’s opinions on slavery, made all the more poignant for his own slaveholding. Valeri 2006 sets Edwards’s thoughts on English-Indian warfare within the context of his teaching on the Christian practice of forgiveness. Stout, et al. 2005 is the most helpful single volume on Edwards’s social thought; it contains illuminating essays on violence, sex, Indians, and slavery.

                                                                                                  • Heimert, Alan. Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966.

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                                                                                                    This study of religion and the American Revolution offered a provocative thesis that placed Edwards at the center of a Calvinist-evangelical-revolutionary nexus that culminated in the American Revolution. Although much criticized, it continues to shape discussions of the topic.

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                                                                                                    • McDermott, Gerald R. One Holy and Happy Society: The Public Theology of Jonathan Edwards. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                      Using sermons and Edwards’s miscellaneous writings, this presents a major study of Edwards’s political views. It encompasses Edwards’s ideas about national politics, divine providence, the millennium, and civic virtue.

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                                                                                                      • Minkema, Kenneth P. “Jonathan Edwards’s Defense of Slavery.” Massachusetts Historical Review 4 (2002): 23–59.

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                                                                                                        This essay briefly presents Edwards’s previously un-noted comments on slavery. It argues that Edwards held slaves and justified slaveholding as a short-term social expedient but did not embrace racism.

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                                                                                                        • Noll, Mark A. America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                          This study of Protestant theology and American politics from Puritan settlement through the Civil War makes repeated reference to Edwards. A general overview, it especially argues that Edwards’s Calvinism became absorbed into American republican political values.

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                                                                                                          • Stout, Harry S., Kenneth P. Minkema, and Caleb J. D. Maskell, eds. Jonathan Edwards at 300: Essays on the Tercentenary of His Birth. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2005.

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                                                                                                            This anthology is especially helpful for its selection of essays that concern the social implications of Edwards’s theology. It includes chapters on violence, sex, relationships with Indians, and slavery.

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                                                                                                            • Valeri, Mark. “The Economic Thought of Jonathan Edwards.” Church History 60 (March 1991): 37–54.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/3168521Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Drawing from unpublished sermons, this essay analyzes changes in Edwards’s economic thought in terms of specific policies such as currency supply and price and wages. It argues that practical concerns led him to advocate strict government control to ameliorate the socially divisive effects of market practices.

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                                                                                                              • Valeri, Mark. “Forgiveness: From the Puritans to Jonathan Edwards.” In Practicing Protestants: Histories of Christian Life in America, 1630–1965. Edited by Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Leigh E. Schmidt, and Mark Valeri, 35–48. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                Describes how Edwards’s attitudes toward New England’s putative enemies such as the French and Native American tribes were shaped by religious practices of forgiveness.

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                                                                                                                Legacies

                                                                                                                Many studies of Edwards and the Atlantic world take place within discussions of his legacies or influence throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Grigg 2009 is a study of one of Edwards’s more celebrated followers who modeled an Edwardsean pattern for missions to Native Americans. Crisp and Sweeney 2012 has essays that explore Edwards and the development of theology in New England through the mid-19th century. Conforti 1995 provides a remarkable account of how Edwards’s reputation in New England underwent transformations that reflected changing cultural attitudes toward Protestantism, especially during the 19th century. Scheick 1980 contains important essays that explore similar territory. One of the first collections stemming from the revived Yale project, Hatch and Stout 1988 offers several seminal statements on Edwards and American culture. It can serve as both introduction to and review of the issue of Edwards and American religion. Kling and Sweeney 2003 adds further reflection on that subject. Lee and Guelzo 1999 covers Edwards’s importance for several strands within contemporary theological discourse. Two anthologies contain excellent and reliable accounts of Edwards’s popularity and impact overseas, especially in Great Britain: Kling and Sweeney 2003 and van Andel, et al. 2011.

                                                                                                                • Conforti, Joseph A. Jonathan Edwards, Religious Tradition, and American Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                  An illuminating study of how changes in the interpretation of Edwards in New England reflected broader cultural and social concerns, from early national politics through antebellum moral reform, Victorian domesticity, the colonial revival, and Neo-Orthodoxy.

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                                                                                                                  • Crisp, Oliver D., and Douglas A. Sweeney, eds. After Jonathan Edwards: The Courses of the New England Theology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756292.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Original essays that probe Edwards’s influence on theology in New England from the New Divinity Movement of the 1750s and 1760s through the so-called New England theology of the first half of the 19th century. Some essays also describe Edwards’s reputation among modern Europeans, Asian Protestants, and American evangelicals.

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                                                                                                                    • Grigg, John A. The Lives of David Brainerd: The Making of An American Evangelical Icon. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372373.001.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Focused on one of Edwards’s more famous students, this study reveals much about Edwards’s influence during the 18th century, especially in the practice of missionary activity to Native Americans. It also discusses Edwards’s role as editor and superintendent over evangelical followers.

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                                                                                                                      • Hatch, Nathan O., and Harry S. Stout, eds. Jonathan Edwards and the American Experience. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                                        Important essays by intellectual historians who reassess the historical place of Edwards in American culture in light of the revival of Edwards scholarship. Topics include Edwards and the American character, philosophy, biblical interpretation, the millennium, Puritanism, and 19th-century theology.

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                                                                                                                        • Kling, David W., and Douglas A. Sweeney, eds. Jonathan Edwards at Home and Abroad: Historical Memories, Cultural Movements, Global Horizons. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                          Essays on Edwards and his cultural and social influence. Topics include Edwards and children, economics, race, women’s fiction, missions, and print abroad.

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                                                                                                                          • Lee, Sang Hyun, and Allen C. Guelzo, eds. Edwards in Our Time: Jonathan Edwards and the Shaping of American Religion. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999.

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                                                                                                                            Essays by contemporary theologians on how Edwards’s theology can inform contemporary religious discourse. Covers topics such as God and nature, postmodern thought, ethics, revivalism, and the salvation of non-Christians.

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                                                                                                                            • Scheick, William J., ed. Critical Essays on Jonathan Edwards. Boston: Hall, 1980.

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                                                                                                                              Reprints important essays on Edwards from the late 19th century through the 1970s, especially helpful for reviewing the revival of Edwards’s intellectual reputation during the second half of the 20th century. Also helpful for identifying arguments about Edwards’s influence, especially a classic essay by Richard Bushman on that topic.

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                                                                                                                              • van Andel, Kelly, Adrian C. Neele, and Kenneth P. Minkema, eds. Jonathan Edwards and Scotland. Papers from a conference held in May 2009 and organized by the Jonathan Edwards Center at the University of Glasgow. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press. 2011.

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                                                                                                                                Essays on Edwards as a Reformed theologian and his influence on Scottish revivals, Welsh Methodism, and transatlantic Calvinism. Focused on the 18th century.

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