Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level





Jacob Adler

Committee Member

Thomas Senor

Second Committee Member

Bryan Reece


Analogies, Early Modern Philosophy, Jonathan Edwards, Ontology, Trinity


Jonathan Edwards scholarship has been divided in recent years on the correct interpretation of his work. Scholars like Sang Hyun Lee and Amy Plantinga Pauw maintain that Edwards used a radically new dispositional ontology to understand the fundamental realities of nature. Oliver Crisp, Kyle Strobel, and Steve Studebaker have argued that Edwards used an essentialist ontology. I will defend the latter position and explain how it is tied to Edwards’s Trinitarianism. I argue for an interpretation of Edwards that situates him in his historical and theological context. The early modern philosophy of his day was marked by essentialist ontology. The Reformed tradition of his day was marked by understanding the Trinity in an orthodox way. I argue that Edwards combined both of these themes in his philosophy and theology. This made for a unique understanding of ontology and Trinitarianism, but Edwards remained within the bounds of the philosophy and theology of his time.