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Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea Paperback – April 30, 1965

ISBN-13: 978-0801490415 ISBN-10: 0801490413 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (April 30, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801490413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801490415
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Although he does not pretend to deal 'exhaustively' with the subject, Professor Morgan leaves. few aspects untouched. Throughout, we are presented with thoughtful, original scholarship and with a skillful reinterpretation of a Puritan idea."—New England Quarterly

About the Author

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Edmund Morgan spent most of his youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was educated at the Belmont Hill School, Harvard, and the London School of Economics. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1942 and three years later began his teaching career at the University of Chicago.From there he moved first to Brown University and then to Yale, where he became Sterling Professor in 1965 and emeritus in 1986. Morgan's historical writings greatly enhance our understanding of such complex aspects of the American experience as Puritanism, the Revolution, and the relationship between slavery and racism. At the same time, they captivate readers in the classroom and beyond. His work is a felicitous blend of rigorous scholarship, imaginative analysis, and graceful presentation. Although sometimes characterized as the quintessential Whig historian, in reality Morgan transcends simplistic categorization and has done more, perhaps, than any other historian to open new and creative paths of inquiry into the meaning of the early American experience. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Adams on October 1, 2010
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Instead of trying to cover the totality of Puritan experience, the author focuses on a few crucial topics. What motivated the Puritans? What were they trying to accomplish? He illuminates the differences between the different branches of Puritanism: Separatists (the Pilgrims), who believed that each and every church should stand alone; Congregationalists (the majority of those who settled the rest of Massachusetts and formed the Massachusetts Bay Colony), who believed in a loose affiliation of churches, and Presbyterians, who wanted a rigid church hierarchy. He also illustrates how the beliefs and practices of each group evolved over time. If you want to really understand some of our most famous ancestors, this relatively slender volume is a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Greg on September 17, 2011
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Morgan's study focuses on important concepts within the history of Christianity in Colonial New England. What were the requirements for belonging to the church? And related to this, who could be baptized and receive the Lord's Supper? Morgan supplies the answers to these questions in a readable style. Further, for the most part, he reflects on these questions in terms of what the Puritans themselves believed. In short, this is a book that anyone interested in the history of Christianity in Colonial America, especially Calvinist-oriented Christianity, will want to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Roop on November 27, 2012
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In just a few bold strokes, Morgan manages to outline how American Puritanism is embedded in English Puritanism and how, nonetheless, it also differs. Some readers may consider this difference as progress, others may not. But it is well, decades after this book first came out, to remember the embedding. Americans studying the Puritans (and the Pilgrims, for that matter) are far too prone to view the subsequent American Revolution as the magnetic pole organizing all phenomena. Morgan's book helps one see this is anachronistic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bellizzi on May 1, 2013
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In this book, Edmund Morgan traces the history of the Puritans from their beginnings in sixteenth-century England through developments in seventeenth-century New England. He gives special attention to their quest to purify the church so that its membership would more closely approximate the true and perfect church of Christ.

Morgan tells us that his title, Visible Saints, is a term that occurs frequently in the writings of the Puritans. More than that, quoting Geoffrey Nuttall, he asserts that this phrase "was undoubtedly their controlling idea and provides the key to what they were after" (vii-viii). Morgan explains that the fundamental question the Puritans raised actually goes back at least as far as the ancient church and the Donatist schism. The Donatists tried to relieve the tension between the ideal and the real by establishing and maintaining what they asserted were "holy" Christian communities. Famously, Augustine responded by insisting that there are at all times, in fact, two churches: one is pure, unmixed, but invisible, while the other is visible, but mixed and impure. In other words, although the Lord knows those who are his, the church doesn't. With a few radical exceptions, says Morgan, the Puritans "never repudiated St. Augustine's distinction between the visible and invisible church. They all insisted on the impossibility of a church without blemish in this world" (33). They nevertheless carried out a unique attempt to further the reformation of the visible church so that it would more closely resemble the invisible.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Real Revival on August 16, 2014
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This is a must read for any serious Bible student who desires to understand how the concept of "church" has changed over the centuries.
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