Just imagine: A Jonathan Edwards iPhone app

by Gustav Spohn
Director of Communications and Publications

Say you are traveling in East Timor and you have your iPhone with you.  And say you happen to be wondering about hell and the storied 18th century American theologian Jonathan Edwards.  Well, then, you would be in luck if you had downloaded the newly available, free iTunes app from the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale—"WJE Online."

IconIf you clicked on the first icon, "Search WJE Online," on the app’s home page and inserted "hell" as a search term, the first hit would take you to the introduction of the Edwards volume Freedom of the Will, where editor Paul Ramsey writes, "A generation or so ago, outside a restricted circle of professional theologians, [Edwards] was popularly known only as one who had preached a distasteful and happily outmoded brand of hell-fire and brimstone.  There was, in fact, a general disposition to pass him over as an anachronism, as retrograde.  ...We find today a new urgency to confront and reinterpret the historic philosophical and theological cruxes with which Edwards grappled so courageously."

Immediately, you would feel better, because, instead of thinking yourself retrograde by ruminating on Edwards, this would offer confirmation of your au courant status as someone keeping up with the latest trends in theological thought. 

Screen ShotThen, of course, you could continue learning about Edwards and hell by scrolling through the 2,000-plus "hell" search results on your iPhone.  Following that, you could read more about Edwards by browsing through the Works of Jonathan Edwards online, scrolling through the chronological sermon index, or doing another search.  Plenty to stimulate your theological curiosities, all while on the road in East Timor.

The new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch app was released on Oct. 2 and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (third, fourth, and fifth generations), and the iPad.  It requires iOS 5.1 or later and is optimized for iPhone 5.  It is downloadable by clicking here.

Initial reaction to the app is excellent, with an average user rating of five out of five stars.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online is a comprehensive, fully searchable, critical, annotated online edition of the papers of Edwards, a corpus of some 100,000 pages of sermons, notebooks, letters, and treatises. The WJE Online edition, housed at the Jonathan Edwards Center and its international offices, is integrated with Scripture citations, primary sources--referenced by Edwards--and relevant scholarly books and articles.

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 nine years, the Edwards Center as well.

Date Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 10:47am