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Book Review - Meet the Puritans

Through the past few decades there has been a great resurgence of interest in the Puritans. This resurgence seems to have begun with Martin Lloyd-Jones who would often refer to their works in his sermons. People would then ask “Where can I get these books?” Banner of Truth began to reprint the books and soon other publishers began as well. Today there are so many available to us that few people could afford to buy or shelve even a fraction of them. This choice has led to confusion as many people, intrigued by what they have heard about the Puritans, hardly know where to begin in reading them. Into this void step Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson with their new book Meet the Puritans.

Meet the Puritans is a resource designed to guide people through the reprints of Puritan writings that have been produced since 1956. The book provides “a brief biography of each Puritan author whose works have been reprinted since 1956 and a short review of those books. We hope this will help purchasers of Puritan books, interest other readers in the Puritans, and guide those already immersed in Puritan literature to further depths of study.” It is more a reference book than one you would be likely to read from cover-to-cover, though if you wanted to, you certainly could.

The format of the book is simple. After a Preface explaining how to profit from reading the Puritans, a brief word about where to begin and a brief history of English Puritanism, there comes a long list of authors. Each author has his own chapter containing a short biography and a list of his books that have been reprinted. There is a review of each book along with publishing information and the number of pages. And that is the heart of the book and continues for some 800 pages. Five appendices deal with collections of Puritan writings, Scottish divines, Dutch further Reformation divines, secondary sources on the Puritans and a final word on Puritanism courtesy of J.I. Packer. In short, this is a one-stop-shop for all you could want to know as a beginner to the Puritans. And if you are already a fan of their writing, this book will lead you further and deeper, guiding you to the best books available.

One thing I would like to see in future editions of this book is a more thorough list of the best place to begin in reading the Puritans. The authors do offer a few suggestions, but they are only basic ones. I’d like to see a list of the top ten or twenty books they would recommend. Additionally, it might be nice to have a topical index of sorts, pointing to the best works on a variety of subjects so that a person looking for a Puritan work on worship or sin or other important topics could quickly and easily find the best resources.

Quite simply, if you are interesting in reading the Puritans, this is a guide you won’t want to be without! It is endorsed by a who’s who of Reformed leaders and authors (the back cover alone has endorsements by Sproul, Piper, MacArthur, Packer and Mohler and there are many more inside!) and deservedly so. Best of all, it promises to be a book that will be updated as time goes on and as these great writings continue to be released.


Meet the Puritans
by
Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson