Sympathetic Puritans : Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England, Hardback Book

Sympathetic Puritans : Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England Hardback

Part of the Religion in America series


Revising dominant accounts of Puritanism and challenging the literary history of sentimentalism, Sympathetic Puritans argues that a Calvinist theology of sympathy shaped the politics, religion, rhetoric, and literature of early New England.

Scholars have often understood and presented sentimentalism as a direct challenge to stern and stoic Puritan forebears: the standard history traces a cult of sensibility back to moral sense philosophy and the ScottishEnlightenment, not Puritan New England.

In contrast, Van Engen's work unearths the pervasive presence of sympathy in a large archive of Puritan sermons, treatises, tracts, poems, journals, histories, and captivity narratives.

Sympathetic Puritans also demonstrates how two types of sympathy - the active commandto fellow-feel (a duty), as well as the passive sign that could indicate salvation (a discovery) - pervaded Puritan society and came to define the very boundaries of English culture, affecting conceptions of community, relations with Native Americans, and the development of American literature.

By analyzing Puritan theology, preaching, prose, and poetry, Van Engen re-examines the Antinomian Controversy, conversion narratives, transatlantic relations, Puritan missions, MaryRowlandson's captivity narrative - and Puritan culture more generally - through the lens of sympathy.

Demonstrating and explicating a Calvinist theology of sympathy in seventeenth-century New England, the book reveals the religious history of a concept that has largely been associated with more secularroots.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of the Americas
  • ISBN: 9780199379637



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