Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale to unveil First Source™ digital archive

On Jan. 11, the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University will unveil First Source™, a collection of scholarly digital archives developed at the Center featuring integrated primary source texts, images, and video and audio resources for web-enabled research, education and publication. The introduction of First Source™ comes on the heels of the Center’s recent expansion oversees into Poland, Germany, South Africa and Australia. [Click here to read Yale Daily News article about the expansion.]

JEAdaptation of this innovative technology further advances the position of the Center as an example of how classical scholarship—in this case, more than 50 years of scholarly editorial expertise that contributed to the making of the critical edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards—can be wedded to modern technologies to produce increasingly valuable and progressively accessible scholarly resources.

The Center’s steady advances in bringing modern technologies to bear on historical scholarship has led to various and frequent requested consultations with other critical text editions, both in the fields of religion and history, inside and outside of Yale University, domestic and international.

These advances have occurred under the leadership of Harry S. Stout, general editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (WJE). Stout is the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University and also serves as general editor of the Religion in America series at Oxford University Press, chair of the Benjamin Franklin Papers, and treasurer of Founding Fathers, Inc. The WJE (26 volumes published by Yale University Press) and WJE Online (73 volumes published) are the result of a combination of widely acclaimed editorial scholarly text, an extraordinary grant-award history (in excess of $10 million since 1986), and leading-edge technological vision and sustainable execution.

The Beta-release First Source™ includes the Works of Jonathan Edwards Online 2.1 (73 vols.), Calvini Opera (59 vols.), Melanchthoni Opera (32 vols.), and sample texts of the African American Religious Documentary Project (Amherst College), The Massachusetts Colonial Church Records Project (Congregational Library, Boston), The George Whitefield Project (Regent College), and The Westminster Assembly Papers (Cambridge University). These projects are part of the Center’s vision to create an online consortium of Christian texts that are fully tagged and cross-searchable.

First SourceTM includes not only consortial texts but also new features and content beyond those offered in WJE Online 2.1, unveiled earlier this year, including online editing capabilities for individual and group editors.

Stout commented, “The release of First Source™ demonstrates the importance of online digital text creation, editing and publication—a resource indispensable for scholarly editions.”

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University was established in October 2003, on the three-hundredth anniversary of Jonathan Edwards' birth. The Center grew out of the offices of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, the contemporary critical print edition of selections from the Edwards papers published by Yale University Press. Yale Divinity School has hosted The Works of Jonathan Edwards since 1988 and, for the past five years, the new Edwards Center as well.