"The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 7" by Jonathan Edwards

The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 7 Volume 7: The Life of David Brainerd Jonathan Edwards, Norman Pettit

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series
Publication date:
10 Sep 1984
Yale University Press
620 pages: 235 x 156mm


Edwards’ Life of David Brainerd is a rare, almost forgotten document depicting life in pre-Revolutionary America during the period when religious enthusiasm swept the colonial frontier. From 1743 to 1747 Brainerd had been a missionary to the Indians. Riding alone, thousands of miles on horseback, he kept a journal of daily events that he continued until the week before he died, at the age of twenty-nine, in Edwards’ house.
Published in 1749, the Life of Brainerd became a spiritual classic in its own time. As the first popular biography to be published in America, it went through numerous editions and has been reprinted more frequently than has any other of Edwards’ works. But what has not until now been known is that Edwards made drastic alterations in the original text. He shaped the narrative events to fit his own needs, presenting Brainerd as an example of a man who by example and deed opposed the rationalist, Arminian stance. Because the Yale edition is the first to print that portion of Brainerd’s manuscript that survives, set in parallel columns with Edwards’ text, these alterations can readily be discerned.
This edition of The Life of David Brainerd, the first complete, fully annotated edition ever to be compiled, includes related correspondence as well as an endpaper map of Brainerd’s travels. The editor’s introduction describes the place of Brainerd’s diary in Edwards’ life and thought, and provides ample historical background.

"This handsomely produced book calls for close attention by the serious Brainerd student....[Petit?s] meticulous research has opened up fields of thought and new information not found in popular editions of the Diary, including unpublished material and related correspondence."?Arthur Bennett, Churchman

"A classic narrative of religious experience.... Pettit?s excellent introductory essay provides a vivid account of Brainerd?s relationship to the Awakening, his expulsion from Yale, and his labors as a missionary to the Indians."?James H. Moorhead, Religious Studies Review

"Another potent reminder of the wide-ranging interests of this eighteenth century Calvinist theologian....Much of this material has never been published before, so it will no doubt add significantly to a more accurate portrait of Edwards and promote additional studies of religious and philosophical thought in eighteenth century New England."?Helen Westra, Calvin Theological Journal

"A welcome opportunity to reassess the spiritual state of British America and the work of one of its major participants and commentators. . . . For all interested in [British America] and in [its] preoccupations, this volume is essential reading."?Colin Brooks, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"Pettit evinces an immense historical understanding not only of what is recoverable of Brainerd?s personal history, but also of the historical context of his time at Yale, the circumstances (and the personalities) involved in his expulsion, the evangelists outside the College who played their own role in this expulsion, the ministers who played a part in convincing him to become a missionary, and the international context of missionary activity at the time."?Teresa Toulouse, Resources for American Literary Study