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Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism Hardcover – January 31, 1994
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Knight offers nuanced and sensitive interpretations of many Puritan texts, teasing out differences of emphasis and sensibility within the widely shared religious culture of early New England. She demonstrates that a broadly consistent Puritan theology could support strikingly different interpretations in the hands of particular preachers and writers. (Eric Hinderaker Religious Studies Review)
In this pioneering and provocative book, adapted from the author's Harvard dissertation, Janice Knight offers a most helpful, if controversial, corrective to one of the chief historiographical conclusions regarding American Puritanism of the first-half of the seventeenth century 'Orthodoxies in Massachusetts presents an immensely provocative and cogently argued thesis, debunking the older myth of Puritan monolith Janice Knight has shown the other strand of Puritan orthodoxy, the Sibbesian-Cottonian tradition, and how the articulated resistance of this group before, during, and after the Antinomian controversy can help to contextualize and rectify our reading of early American Puritanism. (Paul C-H Lim Westminster Theological Journal)
Knight's work is passionately written...Whether or not one has an investment in the ongoing debates about the import of New England Puritanism, Knight reminds us that New Englanders sought passionately to understand better their relationship to the divine and how to make it evident in their social relations. Orthodoxies in Massachusetts demands that we acknowledge the varieties of religious experience this search engendered. (Philip F. Gura William and Mary Quarterly)
Janice Knight has given us a provocative and elegant book that yields new understandings of Puritanism in old and New England...This is a work of intellectual and literary history of a very high order. (Mark Valeri Journal of Religion)
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Knight says that the "Intellectual Fathers" were represented in England by William Perkins and, above all, William Ames. In America, the Amesian tradition was carried forward by Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, Peter Bulkeley, John Winthrop and most of the ministers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The "Spiritual Brethren," on the other hand, were led in England by John Preston and, above all, Richard Sibbes. In America, the Sibbesian tradition was upheld most prominently by John Cotton, John Davenport, and Henry Vane.
Assuming for the moment that Knight's distinction is valid, someone might ask how it could have been so consistently overlooked in the past. In response, Knight says that in England, in spite of their differences, Puritans were held to together by common enemies like Catholicism and High Anglicanism.Read more ›