Synopsis: Since the publication of Sang Hyun Lee's revolutionary commentary, The Philosophical Theology of Jonathan Edwards, scholars have considered the possibilities of understanding Jonathan Edwards's thought in terms of dispositional laws, forces, and habits. While some scholars reject the notion of a dispositional ontology in Edwards, others have taken the concept of disposition in his thought beyond the usage the Northampton minister ever indicated, especially with respect to soteriological considerations. The preacher of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is made to be an inclusivist, if not a crypto-universalist. Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Reality substantiates that Edwards, in an effort to combat deistic and materialistic Enlightenment paradigms, employs dispositions in his philosophy, but that his radical theocentrism and Calvinistic particularism established its boundaries within his apologetical reconsideration of spatiotemporal and metaphysical reality. Within his "spiritual vision" of reality, Edwards leaves no stone unturned: history and even the reprobate find inherent value and a positive functional role not only in God's program of self-glorification but as manifestations of divine being--the damned are "deformities" in God. The logic of Edwards's theocentric vision of reality pushes his ideas to the limits of acceptable Reformed orthodoxy, and sometimes beyond those limits. Endorsements: "There are a number of studies on the theocentric metaphysics of the Puritan divine Jonathan Edwards. This work distinguishes itself by its careful attention to detail, its comprehensive scope, and its sympathetic interaction with much of the recent Edwards scholarship. Bombaro presents his readers with a picture of the Sage of Northampton's theology, which emphasizes the glorification of God in the creation--and even in the reprobation--of human beings. This will be welcomed by scholars and readers of Edwards as a helpful addition to the expanding literature on the subject." --Oliver Crisp Professor of Systematic Theology Fuller Theological Seminary "A bold and carefully crafted challenge to current interpretations of Edwards, this work seeks a synthesis of those who insist that Edwards was an orthodox thinker and those who portray him as a modern one. Beginning with Edwards' theocentricity, with its vision of the unity of all in and for God, it grapples with what is for modern minds the more distasteful aspects of his theology--his adherence to the teachings of reprobation and the eternal destruction of the damned." --Kenneth P. Minkema Executive Editor and Director The Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University "Jonathan Edwards worked out a vivid personal view of the relations of God and humanity. In this rigorous engagement with Edwards's philosophical theology, John Bombaro shows that the theologian's vision was the fruit of his conversion and found a place even for reprobates in the glorification of their Creator." --David Bebbington Professor of History University of Stirling "John Bombaro's book on Edwards is most welcome. It shows in clear, well-argued prose with considerable learning that Edwards's theology is definite and clear and not a nose of wax, a plaything for the theologians. Indeed, as he shows, Edwards's Calvinism has some extreme elements to it. The publication of this book should curb excessive and speculative interpretations of his theology." --Paul Helm Teaching Fellow Regent College, Vancouver Author Biography: John J. Bombaro, PhD, is the Senior Priest at Grace Lutheran Church, San Diego, and a faculty member of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Diego.
Frank D. Macchia is Director of Graduate Programs in Religion and Associate Professor of Theology at Vanguard University of Southern California. Paul S. Chung is Faculty Lecturer at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, which is part of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California.