Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale launches new online journal
By Gustav Spohn
Director of Communications and Publications
After publication of more than two dozen print volumes of writings by 18th century theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards, followed by a massive digitization project that has made some 100,000 pages of Edwards’s writings accessible via the Internet, the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale has turned the page with the launch of a new online journal, Jonathan Edwards Studies.
Creation of the online journal, freely accessible to the public, continues the Center’s efforts to make the writings of eighteenth century theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards more accessible, not only in the U.S. but internationally as well. Edwards is recognized by many scholars as America’s most important theologian and by school children throughout the country as author of the fiery sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” preached in Enfield, CT in 1741.
The Center’s expansion internationally has gained significant momentum in the past several years, in large measure through partnerships and affiliated centers established in a number of overseas locations, including Australia, Benelux, Germany, Poland, South Africa, and Brazil.
The new publication is interdisciplinary and professionally refereed, and editors welcome submissions from graduate students, young scholars, clergy, seminarians and other Edwards enthusiasts. The editors are Kenneth P. Minkema, executive editor of the Works of Jonathan Edwards and executive director of the Jonathan Edwards Center, and Adriaan C. Neele, associate editor of the Works of Jonathan Edwards and associate director of the Jonathan Edwards Center.
In a message of welcome in the inaugural issue, released Sept. 6, editors of the journal said, “This is the first modern professional periodical of its kind, devoted to considerations of the background, influences, life, times, thought, and legacy of one of the most significant thinkers in Christian history, arguably America’s most important protestant theologian, and one of the most significant figures in modern religious history—Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).”
The journal, to be published in the spring and fall, will enhance the Center’s ability to fulfill its goal of supporting and encouraging “all facets of Edwards’s fascinating body of work, including historic trajectories, early modern context, his life and thought, and global legacies.”
The journal will consider submissions in four categories: articles (6,000-8,000 words), features (up to 2,000 words), historical documents (primary source materials, up to 50 pages), and book reviews (350-1,000 words).
Submissions will be sent for review to scholars and authors who are specialists in the field of Edwards Studies or generalists in their disciplines. If a manuscript is accepted for publication, the editorial staff will then edit it to conform to JES's house style.
"I am particularly excited by this new online journal,” said Minkema, “because it is the first of its kind devoted to all things Edwards, and it is the desire of the JEC to make this journal a venue for all sorts of new and exciting work on his life, times, and legacy."
The Journal is being published at minimal cost, by using the freely available open-source journal publishing software “Open Journal Systems,” developed through a partnership including several Canadian universities and the Stanford University School of Education.
According to Neele, the entire publishing process can be done online with OJS. Said Neele, "Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing software that assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from online submissions of articles through to online publication, and comprehensive indexing of content."
The inaugural issue features articles on Jonathan Edwards and the absence of free choice and on sexual politics in Eighteenth-Century Pelham, MA; an historical document entitled “A Quaker Response to Distinguishing Marks”; and a feature on Jonathan Edwards and the tithe.
The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale, based at Yale Divinity School, was established in 2003 in anticipation of the completion of the 26-volume Yale edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards. With Yale University Press’s completion of those volumes in 2008, the Jonathan Edwards Center carried the work of the Edwards project forward with creation of a comprehensive, fully searchable, critical, annotated online edition, WJE Online, including some 100,000 pages of Edwards sermons, notebooks, letters, and treatises.
In addition to housing the editorial and administrative components of the letterpress and digital projects—and, now, the online journal—the Center offices also serve as a resource center. An ongoing project is the transcription of original Edwards manuscripts at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. A team of student editorial assistants, most YDS students, work on that project.