A Conversation with Jonathan Edwards

I’m not alone in saying that Jonathan Edwards was likely the greatest theological mind in American history. Yet for a man who carefully dissected his terms, and frequently lamented the limitations of the English language in allowing him to express his thoughts (!), Edwards can be frustratingly complex and often too deep for many readers. So what is the best entry point into Edwards’s theology?

One book I return to frequently is A Conversation with Jonathan Edwards by Gary Crampton (Reformation Heritage Books). Crampton assembled the book in a Q&A format, posing theological questions and then writing answers, which are citations of direct quotes from the works of Edwards. Crampton book, which is just over 200 pages, provides a comprehensive overview of Edwards’s theology in way that I find very engaging. Chapters include Edwards thoughts on man, knowledge, Scripture, God, angels, man, soteriology, the Church, the family, eschatology, and heaven and hell.

I use A Conversation with Jonathan Edwards as an index and field guide to the  complete works of Edwards now available online from Yale University. Using Crampton as my map, I can more easily and efficiently find my way around Edwards’s works and locate specific writings in a snap.

Partly because it was produced by a small publisher (RHB), I don’t think this book has received the publicity it deserves. But if you are looking for a jumpstart into the theology of Edwards, or if you would like a map to help you sift through the online works of Edwards, this may be the best single volume overview available. I highly recommend it.


Title: A Conversation with Jonathan Edwards
Author: Gary Crampton
Boards: paper
Pages: 202
Topical index: no (it’s arranged topically)
Scriptural index: no
Text: perfect type
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
Year: 2006
Price USD: $16.00 / $12.00 from publisher
ISBNs: 1892777762

4 thoughts on “A Conversation with Jonathan Edwards

  1. Marsden’s biography, “Jonathan Edwards: A Life” also works very well as an introduction to Edwards’ thought. And when I taught Edwards at the University of Tennessee, my freshmen responded very well to Yale UP’s “Jonathan Edwards Reader.” The introductions are quite useful and the works they use are an excellent blend of Edwards’ diversity and the overall coherence of his thinking.

  2. One of the editors of the JE reader, John E. Smith (who is also the editor of the Yale edition of the RA), put out an excellent little introduction to Edwards entitled, *Jonathan Edwards: Puritan, Preacher, Philosopher*. It’s somewhat costly to obtain now on the used book market, but well worth it.


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