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Worlds Of Wonder, Days Of Judgment

Popular Religious Belief in Early New England

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eBook published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
This book tells an extraordinary story of the people of early New England and their spiritual lives. It is about ordinary people--farmers, housewives, artisans, merchants, sailors, aspiring scholars--struggling to make sense of their time and place on earth. David Hall describes a world of religious consensus and resistance: a variety of conflicting beliefs and believers ranging from the committed core to outright dissenters. He reveals for the first time the many-layered complexity of colonial religious life, and the importance within it of traditions derived from those of the Old World. We see a religion of the laity that was to merge with the tide of democratic nationalism in the nineteenth century, and that remains with us today as the essence of Protestant America.
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This book tells an extraordinary story of the people of early New England and their spiritual lives. It is about ordinary people--farmers, housewives, artisans, merchants, sailors, aspiring scholars--struggling to make sense of their time and place on earth. David Hall describes a world of religious consensus and resistance: a variety of conflicting beliefs and believers ranging from the committed core to outright dissenters. He reveals for the first time the many-layered complexity of colonial religious life, and the importance within it of traditions derived from those of the Old World. We see a religion of the laity that was to merge with the tide of democratic nationalism in the nineteenth century, and that remains with us today as the essence of Protestant America.
Product Details
eBook (320 pages)
Published: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307831781
Other books byDavid D. Hall
  • Ways of Writing

    Ways of Writing
    The Practice and Politics of Text-Making in...
    Writers abounded in seventeenth-century New England. From the moment of colonization and constantly thereafter, hundreds of people set pen to paper in the course of their lives, some to write letters that others recopied, some to compose sermons as part of their life work as ministers, dozens to attempt verse, and many more to narrate a remarkable experience, provide written testimony to a civil court, participate in a controversy, or keep some sort of records—and of these everyday forms of writing there was no limit. Every colonial writer knew of two different modes of publication, each with its distinctive benefits and limitations. One was to entrust a manuscript to a printer who would set type and impose it on sheets of paper that were bound up into a book. The other was to make handwritten copies or have others make copies, possibly unauthorized. Among the colonists, the terms "publishing" and "book" referred to both of these technologies.Ways of Writingis about the making of texts in the seventeenth century, whether they were fashioned into printed books or circulated in handwritten form. The latter mode of publishing was remarkably common, yet it is much less understood or acknowledged than transmission in print. Indeed, certain writers, including famous ones such as John Winthrop and William Bradford, employed scribal publication almost exclusively; the Antimonian controversy of 1636-38 was carried out by this means until manuscripts relating to the struggle began to be printed in England. Examining printed texts as well as those that were handwritten, David D. Hall explores the practices associated with anonymity, dedications, prefaces, errata, and the like. He also surveys the meaning of authority and authenticity, demonstrating how so many texts were prepared by intermediaries, not by authors, thus contributing to the history of "social" or collaborative authorship. Finally, he considers the political contexts that affected the transmission and publication of many texts, revealing that a space for dissent and criticism was already present in the colonies by the 1640s, a space exploited mainly by scribally published texts.

    The Faithful Shepherd

    The Faithful Shepherd
    A History of the New England Ministry in the...
    This description of the Americanization of a European institution, the Puritan ministry as it was transported to the New England colonies in the seventeenth century, offers a host of new insights into American religious history. By focusing on such areas as the ministers' authority, church membership, and ecclesiastical organization, David D. Hall shows that, although the effects of the American experience might be considered liberalizing or democratizing in the first years of settlement, during the entire course of the seventeenth century the New World environment produced an institutional development that returned the churches to forms and doctrines that existed before the emigration from Europe. The Faithful Shepherd not only sustains a bold thesis about Americanization but also affords the reader one of the freshest and most comprehensive histories of the seventeenth-century New England mind and society. This new printing contains a new introduction reflecting on how our understanding of seventeenth-century New England has developed since the book was first published.

    A Reforming People

    A Reforming People
    Puritanism and the Transformation of Public...
    A revelatory account of the aspirations and accomplishments of the people who founded the New England colonies, comparing the reforms they enacted with those attempted in England during the period of the English Revolution. Distinguished historian David D. Hall looks afresh at how the colonists set up churches, civil governments, and methods for distributing land. Bringing with them a deep fear of arbitrary, unlimited authority grounded in either church or state, these settlers based their churches on the participation of laypeople and insisted on “consent” as a premise of all civil governance. Encouraging broad participation and relying on the vigorous use of petitioning, they also transformed civil and criminal law and the workings of courts. The outcome was a civil society far less authoritarian and hierarchical than was customary in their age—indeed, a society so advanced that a few dared to describe it as “democratical.” They were well ahead of their time in doing so. As Puritans, the colonists also hoped to exemplify a social ethics of equity, peace, and the common good. In a case study of a single town, Hall follows a minister as he encourages the townspeople to live up to these high standards in their politics. This is a book that challenges us to discard long-standing stereotypes of the Puritans as temperamentally authoritarian and their leadership as despotic. Hall demonstrates exactly the opposite. Here, we watch the colonists as they insist on aligning institutions and social practice with equity and liberty. A stunning re-evaluation of the earliest moments of New England’s history, revealing the colonists to be the most effective and daring reformers of their day.

    A History of the Book in America

    A History of the Book in America
    The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World
    A History of the Book in America is a five-volume, interdisciplinary series that offers a collborative history of the book in American culture from the earliest days of European settlement to our own days. Its creation is a principal activity of the American Antiquarian Society. Volume 1, The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World is organized around three major themes: the persisting colonial relationship between European settlements and the Old World; the gradual emergence of a pluralistic book trade that differentiated printers from booksellers; and the transition from a "culture of the Word" to the culture of republicanism. The volume also describes nascent forms of literary and learned culture (including the circulation of manuscripts), literacy and censorship, orality, and the efforts by Europeans to introduce written literacy to Native Americans and African Americans.

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