Review: Meet the Puritans

Beeke, Joel. Reformation Heritage Publishing.

Most people never realized encyclopedias could be fun to read. In many ways, if the reader knows how to approach it, this book has the danger and thrill associated with the English Civil War.

I think it is safe to say that Beeke leaves no Puritan behind–even the ones you’ve never heard of and whose writings will never be published. But some chapters are truly good, and there are some Puritans who get center stage: Thomas Goodwin, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard, the Mather Clan, and more.

Each entry is usually between 4 to 8 pages long. The first 60% of each entry is a short biography with a one to two paragraph analysis of the teachings. Then–and this is the good part–a list of the major works, when they were published and sometimes which ones to start first.

*Thomas Goodwin was deep in with Cromwell, as was John Owen.
*Cotton Mather broke with his father’s eschatological method to something approaching millennarianism (430). While Mather’s suggestions on dealing with witches today might bother modern readers, those who’ve been on the mission field (or some urban areas in America) can probably attest to what he is saying. But more importantly, Mather denied the legitimacy of spectral evidence in court, pace the idiocy of Arthur Miller.

The sections on Scottish Puritans and the Dutch Nadere repeats most of Beeke’s works found elsewhere, namely *Puritan Reformed Spirituality.*

About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in Book Review, Church History, theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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