By Andrea Knutson
This examine examines how the concept that of conversion and the legacy of the doctrine of instruction, as articulated in Puritan Reformed theology and transplanted to the Massachusetts Bay colony, remained a necessary cultural strength shaping advancements in American literature, theology, and in philosophy within the kind of pragmatism.
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Extra resources for American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James
What the morphology couldn’t contain or predict were the daily experiences of God’s hidden will, the ordinary currents infusing saints’ lives with the divine. The migration carries such a heavy cognitive and emotional weight in the confessions because it tests the Puritans’ faith. Although the migration was by no means an “ordinary” experience, it became an event demanding a new interpretation, a new home in language, when the reality of the experience failed to affirm that it was a means, or channel, for grace’s operations.
We see ministers unable to ease their flock’s spiritual pain, and we see times when parishioners seek each other out for spiritual guidance. ”34 The confessions, in fact, exhibit one of the earliest examples of New England Puritanism in the making because they are records of the saints’ physical and spiritual arrivals to America. Of central importance to our deepening understanding of Puritan culture has been the fact of the Puritans’ experience in the New World as immigrants. Andrew Delbanco’s The Puritan Ordeal, published in 1989, goes a long way in clarifying how the impact of this “psychic upheaval” manifested a new imagining of sin as threatening enemy, shaping not only the immediate future of New England society, culture, and theology but also the future of generations of Americans to come.
George Selement makes an important distinction between Shepard’s ministerial soteriology and the lay understanding and expression of that soteriology in his study of the narratives. 44 Selement attributes this to a distinction central to the ministration of Shepard’s doctrine of grace instructing congregants to heed the difference between “heart” knowledge and “head” knowledge of every aspect and stage of the conversion process: Shepard had warned his congregation against relying on a knowledge of the intricacies of formal theology for salvation.
American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James by Andrea Knutson