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Religion and Revolution: The Puritan Movement (c. 1560-1660) in Britain Reconsidered

December 5, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Royce 306,

Who were the “Puritans”? The short answer is, a party within the two state churches (Scotland and England) dissatisfied with anything short of a “thorough” or “perfect” Protestantism that eliminated every trace of “idolatry,” curtailed the authority of the monarchy in matters of religion, and set a high standard for being a “sincere” Christian. A hard-fought politics unfolded, but it was the political collapse of Charles I in 1640-41 that enabled Puritans in both countries to come into power—only to discover that they disagreed on matters as fundamental as the nature of the true church. The New England colonists inherited these issues but resolved them in ways that continually surprise us.

Co-Sponsored by the Department of History


David D. Hall has taught at Yale, Boston University, and Harvard Divinity School, from which he retired in 2008; he has also been a visiting director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris, and most recently was a senior research fellow at the Huntington Library (2014-15). In the early 1980s he initiated the Center for the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society and became general editor of a five volume History of the Book in America (2000-2010). His prize-winning Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England (1989) was shaped by studies of popular culture and popular religion in early modern Europe, and a collection of essays he edited, Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice (1997). More recently, the Rosenbach lectures he gave at the University of Pennsylvania appeared as Ways of Writing: The Practice and Politics of Text-Making in Seventeenth-Century New England  (2008). He has also edited an important collection of documents stemming from the “antinomian controversy” in 1630s Massachusetts and another of documents relating to witch-hunting in New England. Always, he has sought to bring an Atlantic perspective to bear on the history of early America.


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December 5, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Royce 306