The Colonial Period/Age of Faith/Puritanism Puritans



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The Colonial Period/Age of Faith/Puritanism
Puritans were 1st American writing to influence course of American literature & American imagination.
Puritans: had faith in:

>own abilities to solve problems--PRACTICAL

>rightness of own cause

>close relationship between everyday and

spiritual world
Puritans: Protestants who sought to “purify” the Church of England by returning to simple forms of worship and church organization as described in the New Testament.
Suffered persecution in England
Dreamed of building new society patterned after God’s word--THEOCRACY

PURITAN BELIEFS:
A. Certainty:
Original sin: because Adam & Eve sinned, most of humanity damned for eternity
Predestination: who will be saved is determined

ahead of time, the “elect”


B. Doubt: How can an individual tell if s/he is one of the “elect” to be saved?


  1. Inner feeling of grace arriving




  1. Outward behavior

C. This led to values of:


Industriousness

Temperance

Sobriety

Simplicity

D.Religion a personal experience (no intermediaries)
E. Covenant (contract) between people & God good model for social organization.-->American gov’t

PILGRIM”: A model for the Puritans


>someone who makes a journey to a holy place
>journey to salvation/America
>Pilgrims read own lives, examining significance of

each event.


THE BIBLE & EDUCATION
Bible: story of creation, wanderings, fall & rescue

of human race.


In it, Puritans saw many connections to own lives.
For them it was the literal word of God (& everyone needed to be able to read it).
1636: Harvard University

1638: First printing press in New World

Bay Psalm Book 1st thing printed

1647: free public schools (white boys)

1690: New England Primer
PURITAN WRITING

Puritan Plain Style—strong, simple logical,

accessible to all.
KINDS OF LITERATURE
Inner events: stages on road to salvation

Journals serious self-examination

Diaries

Poetry for spiritual enlightenment


Outer events: important messages from God

Studies provide spiritual

Histories insight & education

Biographies



Sermons

Hymns


God reveals his purpose through:
Bible
Natural world
Divine Providence
At best, Puritan literature records not just the moments when the physical and spiritual cross, but when they diverge. The conflicts between worldly and spiritual.


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