Puritan Author Reading Difficulty Chart?

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This post has 20 Replies | 2 Followers

Posts 1121
Liam | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Feb 6 2017 2:26 PM

Odd question for everybody:

I'm looking for a resource (or web site) that had some kind of rating for the difficulty level of different puritans (church fathers and reformers would be awesome too if you've seen it out there). I'm hoping for something pretty comprehensive rather than just a couple authors named. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Some kind of database or chart that shows puritan authors and their difficulty level? 

My goal here is to set up a way to rate puritan writings on a weighted scale that measures reviews, number of ratings (popularity), and difficulty level (but prioritizing reviews). I'd love to have a Puritan reading list starting from most impactful and easiest to read, to more obscure and difficult to read. This way as one grew in reading ability they'd grow in the difficulty of writing they'd experience. I can get almost all the info I need for this from Goodreads.com. I can even export it into a handy excel spread sheet. The only data I can't find is some kind of difficulty scale.

Anyone heard of such a thing?

Thank you!

Posts 1121
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 7 2017 12:36 PM

Anybody?...

Posts 610
Stephen Steele | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 8 2017 12:08 PM

Never heard of anything like it, but sounds like it could be useful.

Part of the problem is that it's subjective, to at least some extent.

Thomas Watson is often held up as an example of an easier-to-read Puritan. Presumably Bunyan too. Flavel maybe intermediate and Owen at the harder end?

It would be interesting if you could ask a couple of people who are very familiar with the Puritans eg Joel Beeke, Sinclair Ferguson etc who they would put in each category.

Posts 995
Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 8 2017 1:06 PM

The book "Meet the Puritans" is a really excellent read that covers much of what you are looking for, but not in chart form.

https://www.logos.com/product/48977/meet-the-puritans

 

Posts 943
Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 9 2017 1:08 PM

I've not heard one , but I would put John Owen (not a puritan, I know) on the hardest end of the spectrum.

Posts 610
Stephen Steele | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 16 2017 5:27 AM

Everett Headley:

John Owen (not a puritan, I know)

Don't tell whoever wrote the book 'John Owen: The Prince of Purtians'!

Posts 663
James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 16 2017 5:52 AM

This made me happy when I read it the other day: How John Owen Proposed To His Wife

Posts 943
Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 16 2017 3:27 PM

In my defense I had the flu and should not have been on the internet.... But, I meant to type something else and I don't know why that came out. lol .  I feel like the kid on the first day of class and forgot his pants. oh well.

Posts 1121
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 22 2017 6:50 AM

Thanks guys! I also found an article by Joel Beeke where he lists a few difficult ones and a few easier ones. I think part of the difficulty in this is that different puritans can be difficult or easy depending on what they're writing. Edwards for example I find difficult in his larger treatises, but his sermons or miscellanies I find relatively easy. Working on the list though! I'll post the top ten or so when I'm finished! (Even if my difficulty scale may be a bit arbitrary!)

Posts 2993
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 8 2017 11:08 AM

The Prince of Puritans John Owen

Good find. I might get it.

mm.

Stephen Steele:

Everett Headley:

John Owen (not a puritan, I know)

Don't tell whoever wrote the book 'John Owen: The Prince of Purtians'!

mm.

Posts 2761
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 8 2017 11:22 AM

Liam:
Some kind of database or chart that shows puritan authors and their difficulty level?

This is simple. Make a chart with spaces from 1 (easiest) to 10 (most difficult). Put them all in 10.

Done.

Big Smile

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 19
Scott Cameron | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 11 2018 5:48 AM

Joel Beeke has written an excellent article here: http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SBJT-V14-N4_Beeke.pdf

Apologies if someone has already highlighted this.

Posts 778
scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 11 2018 6:18 AM

Scott Cameron:

Joel Beeke has written an excellent article here: http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SBJT-V14-N4_Beeke.pdf

Apologies if someone has already highlighted this.

Thank you so much, Scott for mentioning this article.  I would look at Owen bits, and sigh.  Now I know where to start.

Posts 19
Scott Cameron | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 11 2018 6:45 AM

Tim Challies did a very helpful series in 2013 on the Puritans :-)

https://www.challies.com/series/the-puritans/

Posts 1121
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 13 2018 12:49 PM

Thanks for these Scott! I’ll have to check them out!

Posts 505
Bobby Terhune | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 13 2018 1:04 PM

Also in Logos is the Magazine "Credo" Volume 5 Number 4, the title is "THE PRINCE OF PURITANS - John Owen. It has a number of good articles on John Owen, for 1.99

https://www.logos.com/product/158391/credo-volume-5-issue-4-the-prince-of-puritans-john-owen

Posts 54
LogosEmployee
Mike Hanes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 13 2018 1:19 PM

Tony Reinke also has a series of posts about the Puritans on his blog

https://tonyreinke.com/2007/02/07/the-puritan-study-series-index/

Posts 18499
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 12:07 AM

Liam:
I'm looking for a resource (or web site) that had some kind of rating for the difficulty level of different puritans (church fathers and reformers would be awesome too if you've seen it out there).

Go through a list of Puritan authors and, one by one, copy and paste the text from a sample book by each author into one of various online readability calculators (e.g., https://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp) and compile the results into a table. Share here.

Posts 1121
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 7:16 PM

Wow Rosie! What an excellent idea! Thank you!

Posts 18499
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 7:50 PM

Liam:

Wow Rosie! What an excellent idea! Thank you!

You're welcome. And you can probably get a pretty good read on the difficulty level of a book by just copying/pasting about one chapter worth, assuming that most authors are fairly consistent in their writing style throughout their works. So you won't need to take forever at this, or violate any fair use limitations on the Logos software (I think there's a maximum percentage or number of pages from each book that you can copy, though I've never tested this).

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