A long-term project which is a joy to do! Some pictures of the process…Click to enlarge.
Click on any picture below to enlarge.
The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale is one of the world’s best. Unlike Harvard’s collection, you don’t need to wear white gloves. Once we were vetted, we were shocked by the freedom they give to scholars.
Here are a few things we looked at. First, is Jonathan Edwards Bible. Paper was rare, but Jonathan liked to write…a lot. You will see that the small sheet has the passage of Scripture and then two blank pages to take notes on what he was reading. And did he ever take notes! I did somewhat of a quick count of his handwritten notes on Genesis and each page has about 2500 words! On a similar size sheet of paper I write about 250 words.
Jonathan’s wife, Sarah, along with their daughters, made fans. When the fans were no longer of use, Jonathan would take the delicate scraps and weave them into a book where he could write down sermon notes, etc.
Doreen got choked up when she held Jonathan’s Bible in her hands. The word that kept coming to my mind was “humbling” as you see the great effort Jonathan exerted to make sense of God’s Word.
Fabric from Sarah’s wedding dress.
Our dear friend, Dr. Dave Mahan, is the director of the Rivendell Institute (www.rivendellinstitute.org) and teaches at Yale Divinity. Dave set us up with Susan Howe, who is a world-renowned poet. In 2017, she won the Robert Frost Medal for “distinguished lifetime service to American poetry.” Susan was a sheer delight to be with. We spent two terrific hours at her beautiful home in the country. Susan is candid about not being a Christian, but she is captivated by the beauty and respect for language she finds in Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.
I headed over to Yale’s Sterling library and was thrilled to see they have my first book.
Michael McClymond is Professor of Modern Christianity at St. Louis University. Doreen met Mike in college some thirty-five years ago! She had not seen Mike since, but he happened to be at Yale the same time as us. Mike told us about his various writing projects, one of which he happened to remember quoting my book, The Battle for Hell. Mike is a wonderful guy, expert on Jonathan Edwards, and graciously offered to be a resource for Doreen with her book on Sarah.
Check out Mike’s work here: https://sites.google.com/a/slu.edu/michael-j-mcclymond/
The great folks at the Overseas Ministries Study Center made our time fun and fruitful. Many thanks to Dr. Tom Hastings, Pam Huffman, Pam Sola, Michael Racine, Ray Sola, Judy Stebbins, and the ever present help of Chee-Seng and Sharon!
Check them out at www.omsc.org.
I will close with a foodie picture. This is Nica’s Market (www.nicasmarket.com), a terrific and reasonable place to grab a bite (or many bites!) to eat. The guy behind me seems skeptical about my choices, but trust me, they were good.
Some of you know that we came to Yale so Doreen could begin to do intensive research on Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan. Most of you know that Doreen’s first book is on the ministries/marriages of Jonathan/Sarah Edwards, George/Elizabeth Whitefield, and John/Molly Wesley. Doreen’s book is used as a required text by a professor of history and theology at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). It is gratifying to hear how the students appreciate Doreen’s hard work. Here is recent picture of Doreen speaking at DTS.
We usually stop in Dallas on our treks back east. Our wonderfully encouraging friends, Bill and Helen Reeves, welcomed us into their lovely abode on our way to New Haven, CT.
Our first big stop was in Knoxville, Tennessee. Doreen’s sister and brother-in-law live there. I was reminded that we were in the Bible belt when I stepped into the restroom of a Christian bookstore. I guess several biblical truths could work like “Go…and Make Disciples!”
We made it safely to Yale. Here is Dr. Ken Minkema, the Director of The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale. We had a terrific and productive time with him.
I close this log with a few pictures from one of our study locations. These are from the Yale Divinity library.
A peek out our window…
A great six minutes!
Our youngest son, Chris, recently finished his honors thesis in classics. It is quite technical (yes, I’ve “read” it) and about 100 pages long. That length is pretty typical. Now consider an undergraduate doing this for his thesis on Shakespeare:
In his senior year at Princeton in 1954, Daniel Seltzer, assistant professor of English, wrote a thesis that was nearly six hundred pages long…Dealing with “royal themes–the characterization of moral ideas on the stage,” the thesis was for Seltzer a “kind of catharsis,” and he now looks back with Joycean delight at the comment of his roommate who suggested that “I put the thing on casters.”
Who or what do you love enough to go overboard? Rather, take a look at the people and things you tend to go overboard with and you will discover your true loves!
There are two men who have taught me the most about the proper ways to integrate theology and literature: Ralph Wood and Roger Lundin. I have interviewed Ralph before, and Lord willing shall be going back to Baylor for another interview. I corresponded with Roger. I was planning on meeting with Roger during my lecture at Wheaton, but Roger unexpectedly died a few days prior to my talk. Jeremy Begbie of Duke collaborated with Roger. Here is part of Begbie’s tribute:
He cared about words – or better put, he cared for people through words: his students, colleagues and readers. That was why he labored so hard to find the right ones. That was why – with that memorable sidelong glance – he paused so often in conversation. That is why he spent hours and hours revising and re-editing his essays and books. In all the years I knew Roger I can honestly say I never remember him using words carelessly. He knew that careless words could hurt, maim and wound. In a culture deluged with half-thought out words, sloppy, hollowed-out language, he saw it as his calling to hone words full of care for others, full of the winsome generosity of God. And in the corridors of the academy, few things are needed more today. We academics revel in large words – to impress, to intimidate. He inspired us to use words with largesse. And that is a legacy beyond measure.
The rest is here: http://www.transpositions.co.uk/tribute-to-professor-roger-lundin/
Here is Doreen teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary. Professor Michael Svigel has Doreen in every year to talk about her book and field questions. Doreen’s book is required reading for the class as you can see from this snippet of Michael’s syllabus for the course.
III. COURSE TEXTBOOKS
- Required: Gonzalez, Justo. The Story of Christianity, vol. 2, The Reformation to the Present Day. Rev. and updated. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.
- Marsden, George. Fundamentalism and American Culture. 2d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. (260 pages)
- Moore, Doreen. Good Christians, Good Husbands? Geanies House, U.K.: Christian Focus, 2004. (200 pages)
- Oden, Thomas C. After Modernity…What? Agenda for Theology. Paperback ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992. (224 pages)Response Paper (25%)There will be one 7–10 page paper required for this course. This will be a summary, evaluation, and personal application paper in response to the book Good Christians, Good Husbands? by Doreen Moore. The paper will consist of three clearly-labeled sections: 1) summary of the book reporting the basic thesis and content of the book (approximately 1 to 2 pages); 2) evaluation of the book, including a critical review of the book’s argument, evidence, use of history, and conclusions, including at least three positives and three negatives (3 to 4 pages); 3) personal application of the book, including a discussion of how the argument of the book affects your view of history, ministry, and family and a description of how one can utilize the information in the book in ministry (3 to 4 pages).
Yesterday, we posted a picture outside of Payne Hall. Here is our living room:
Here is the huge balcony we share with one other apartment:
Princeton is a walking town, so we (gladly) do lots of it everyday. A few pictures of our walk with a couple of the University which is right across the street from the quaint town.
Some spots along our daily walk to the library:
You may have heard me mock pastors who say they are “married to the most beautiful woman in the world.” I like to jest that she must be getting very tired. Well, I think it is fair to say that the day the following picture was shot I could safely say I was married to the most beautiful woman in the library.
Doreen had no idea I was taking a picture, but now she will be on to me. She is doing research on Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan. As many of you know, her first book covers the marriage of Jonathan and Sarah, along with the Whitefields and Wesleys. I happy to say that the Princeton library carries her book along with two of mine.
The burial place of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. Also, the graveyard for John Witherspoon, Aaron Burr, and many more.
My spot in the library:
I am finishing up a thirty-five year study of how to trust God in the midst of suffering. One of my final reads is Ralph Wood’s utterly amazing book on Flannery O’Connor. At my current pace, this 280 page book will have over 500 marginal notes. It is one of the most insightful and beautifully written books I’ve ever read. If you choose to read it, go very slow and bring out your pen!
Protestants don’t tend to believe in Purgatory. I have joked that looking at someone’s photos of their family vacation can feel like Purgatory exists. Hopefully, you will find this log more celestial in nature.
Packed and ready to go:
Dinner (and spent the night) with wonderful friends, Bill and Helen. A great restaurant Bill and Helen introduced us to:
I’ve done some book signings for my own books. Several writer friends have put nice notes to me in copies of their books. But none have done what Edith Schaeffer did when I asked (in the summer of 1986) her to sign a book for my then girlfriend, Doreen! By the way, it was perhaps the most idyllic place I’ve been: out in the Swiss country surrounded by the Alps.