Graduate Student Paper Competition Winner


We are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Jonathan Edwards graduate student paper competition.

We received papers this year from graduate students in four countries on three continents. The competition was stiff. But the winner of this year’s prize is Ryan Hoselton, a Ph.D. student at the University of Heidelberg working with Professor Jan Stievermann.

Mr. Hoselton’s paper is entitled, “Jonathan Edwards, the Inner Witness of the Spirit, and Experiential Exegesis.”

Here is a summary of the strengths of Hoselton’s paper by one of the jurors:

This essay begins by comparing Reformed scholastic views of the inner witness of the Spirit with Edwards’s own writing. It is argued that Edwards, while engaging with philosophers like Locke, nonetheless draws more heavily still on Ames and Owen to present a case for the propriety of the Spirit’s work in Scriptural interpretation. This allows the author to demonstrate that Edwards’s approach to hermeneutics attempts to establish a harmony between the existential situation of the reader and the meaning of the text, giving to individuals and to the laity power in their own exegesis, and confirming the historical contingencies of Edwards’s own exegetical exertions. This paper provides an excellently nuanced reading of the terms commonly used in Edwards studies, e.g. the “sense of the heart” and “new sense,” and is prepared to disagree with scholarly assumptions in so doing. . . . The style of prose was concise and eminently readable, and the logic clear.

Mr. Hoselton will receive a check for $500 and publication of his essay soon in Jonathan Edwards Studies.

Congratulations, Ryan, on a job well done!