Beliefs.ppt by zhaonedx


									Puritanism (1620 – 1740)
               Shaping Forces
• Textual, geographical, and spiritual
• Invention of the printing press
  – “They were not only, like all Puritans, a self-declared
    people of the Book. They were a community that
    invented itself, ex verbo, by the word, and continued
    to assert that identity through the 17th century,
    expanding, modifying, and revising it in a
    progression of sermons, exhortations and
    declarations, histories and hagiographies, covenants
    and controversies, statements and restatements of
    purpose—a stream of rhetorical self-definition
    unequaled by any other community of its kind.” –
    Sacvan Bercovitch
• Discovery of America
• Protestant Reformation
           Historical Background
Two Important New England Settlements:
                      The Plymouth Colony
• Flagship Mayflower arrives - 1620
• Leader - William Bradford
• Settlers known as Pilgrims and Separatists
• "The Mayflower Compact" provides for social, religious, and
  economic freedom, while still maintaining ties to Great Britain.
                 The Massachusetts Bay Colony
• Flagship Arbella arrives - 1630
• Leader - John Winthrop
• Settlers are mostly Puritans or Congregational Puritans
• "The Arbella Covenant" clearly establishes a religious and
  theocratic settlement, free of ties to Great Britain.
Basic Puritan Beliefs – (Tulip)
1. Total Depravity - through Adam and Eve's fall, every person is
   born sinful - concept of Original Sin
2. Unconditional Election - God "saves" those he wishes - only a
   few are selected for salvation - concept of predestination
   (Sanctification is evidence of salvation, but does not cause it)
3. Limited Atonement - Jesus died for the chosen only, not for
4. Irresistible Grace - God's grace is freely given, it cannot be
   earned or denied. Grace is defined as the saving and
   transfiguring power of God
5. Perseverance of the saints - those elected by God have full
   power to interpret the will of God, and to live uprightly. If anyone
   rejects grace after feeling its power in his life, he will be going
   against the will of God - something impossible in Puritanism
                        Additional Beliefs
Typology: The belief that God's intentions are present in human
  action and in natural phenomenon. Puritans believed in cyclical
  or repetitive history; they use "types" - Moses prefigures Jesus,
  Jonah's patience is reflected in Jesus' ordeal on the cross, and
  Moses' journey out of Egypt is played out in the Pilgrims'
  crossing of the Atlantic. Human time is a progression toward the
  fulfillment of God’s design on earth. History revealed what God
  approved or condemned.
Manifest Destiny: The concept of manifest destiny is as old as the
  first New England settlements. Without using the words, John
  Winthrop articulated the concept in his famous sermon, the
  Arbella Covenant (1630), when he said: " ... for we must
  consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all
  people are upon us; ..." Winthrop exhorts his listeners to carry
  on God's mission and to set a shining example for the rest of the
  world. From this beginning, the concept has had religious,
  social, economic, and political consequences. The words
  manifest destiny were first used by editor John L. O'Sullivan in
Backsliding: The belief that "saved" believers, those
 with visible signs of grace, can fall into temptation and
 become sinners. To prevent this, believers were
 expected not to become smug, do constant soul-
 searching, be introspective, and pray constantly. Satan
 was particularly interested in snaring such believers.
Conversion Narratives: Puritan churches did not hold
 that all parish residents should be full church members.
 A true church, they believed, consisted not of everyone
 but of the elect. As a test of election, many New
 England churches began to require applicants for
 church membership to testify to their personal
 experience of God in the form of conversion
      Classification of Puritans
• Larger sense as Christian, in a narrower sense
  as Protestant, and in a still more specialized
  sense as Calvinist.
• Catholics are chief opponents, but also
  believed that high church Anglicans,
  Methodists, Baptists, and Quakers were wrong
  in their religious beliefs.
• Persecuted other groups and refused to allow
  the establishment of their churches in
  Massachusetts Bay until 1665, when at last a
  Baptist congregation was tolerated---a full
  thirty-five years after the Puritans came to
               Literary influences
   Strong European influence
   Also based on pre-conceived European ideals
    of the new utopia – The American Dream
   Cannot trace back to “American” roots
       Native Americans did not contribute to the Puritan
        style of writing
                  Literary Legacy
• The genesis of the American dream
• The need for moral justification for private, public, and
  governmental acts
• The Questing for Freedom - personal, political,
  economic, and social
• The Puritan work ethic
• Elegiac verse - morbid fascination with death
• The city upon the hill - concept of manifest destiny
• Suspicion of language - questioning whether language
  can reveal extraordinary experiences
• Self-scrutiny
      Function of Puritan Writing
• To transform a mysterious God - mysterious
  because he is separate from the world
• To make him more relevant to the universe
• To glorify God
• To have a complete record of the Puritan story
  – “The voyage to New England was an act of faith,
    derived from the reading of providential signs in
    contingent events, and the “simple truth” was
    therefore nothing less than an account of the
    significant actions of God’s Chosen People, sent on
    a divine errand into the wilderness.” – Ruland and
   The plain style - Puritan writers turned away from
    features common to the rhetoric of the day - rhetorical
    flourishes and learned quotations of the metaphysical
    style of sermon
       The plain style was important for interpreting signs (typology)
       Still contained metaphor
• Purpose - there was a strong sense of purpose in
  Puritan writing
• Puritan writing reflected the character and scope of the
  reading public, which was literate and well-grounded in
• Common themes were idealism - both religious and
  political and pragmaticism - practicality and purpose
• Focus on didacticism and piety
                  Popular Genres
• Jeremiad - a long literary work in which the author
  bitterly laments the state of society and its morals, calls
  for a restoration of purity, and contains a prophecy of
  society's imminent downfall
• Sermons - (see reader for format)
• Journals – account of individual lives
• Histories – public account of a colony or town
   – Both histories and journals were scrutinized for signs
• Conversion narratives
• Devotional works
• Captivity narratives
   – Reinforced the idea that the Puritans were a chosen people
     entering a wilderness full of “devils”
            Unpopular Genres
• Drama – theater was condemned
  – “The powers of darkness have a library among us,
    whereof the poets have been the most numerous as
    well as the most venomous authors. Most of the
    modern plays, as well as the romances, and novels
    and fictions, which are a sort of poem, do belong to
    the catalogue of this cursed library.” – Cotton Mather
  – Mather also noted that a Mr. Bedford had collected
    “near 7000 instances” of pestilential impiety from the
    plays of the previous 5 years.
• Prose – novels were deeply distrusted
• Poetry – except for rigorously defined verse
       Major Authors and Works
John Winthrop – “A Model of Christian Charity”
Anne Bradstreet - poetry
Edward Taylor - poetry
Cotton Mather – Magnalia Christi Americana
William Bradford – Of Plymouth Plantation
Mary Rowlandson – A Narrative of the Captivity and
 Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
Jonathan Edwards – “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry

• Bercovitch, Sacvan. “The Puritan Vision of the
  New World.” The Columbia History of the
  United States. New York: Columbia UP, 1988.
• Ruland, Richard and Bradbury, Martin. From
  Puritanism to Postmodernism. New York:
  Penguin Books, 1992.

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