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Puritanism: A Historical Background

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Mariko Antonacci

on 8 August 2017

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Transcript of Puritanism: A Historical Background

Puritanism: A Historical Background
Who were the Puritans?
The Puritan movement began in England in the middle of the 16th century (1500s). Puritanism moved into the New England colonies by way of settlers in the New World.
Christians in England began to feel that the church was corrupt. As a result, reformers (the Puritans) suggested that scripture, NOT the clergy, should guide Christian life.
In 1620, a hundred or so English men and women settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, fleeing from religious persecution.
For example:
One Englishman who had written a pamphlet to reform the Church of England was put in jail, fined, whipped, had the top of his ears cut off, his forehead burned with a hot iron, and his nose slit (OMG!!!!).
BY LAW, English citizens were forced to join the Church of England.

Divine Mission
Basically, the Puritans thought that God (scripture) should rule, not people.
The Puritan Principles
1. They wished to have their feelings changed through
God's grace.
They wanted to be cleansed of sin, envy, vanity, and lust.
2. They valued plainness -
, especially in church.
3. They saw their bringing Christianity to America as a
divine mission.
What was different about the Puritans?
One major belief that separated Puritans from other Christians is the belief in
Predestination is the belief that God knows where each person will end up in eternity.
God decided who could and could not go to Heaven.
could affect salvation. Even in you were the best Puritan ever, if God had already decided that you're going to Hell, you're going to Hell.
The Puritans believed that those who were blessed with wealth and prosperous family lives were a part of those "elected" to go to Heaven.
"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Johnathan Edwards
John Winthrop: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through all the world." (1630)
The Puritans believed that they should be the ones to settle the New World in order to set an example to the rest of the world what a pure, Christian life is supposed to be like. This is one of the earliest examples of
American exceptionalism
, the belief that the U.S. is inherently different and thus, better than other countries.
Puritan Literature
Plain style:
prose is not supposed to be ornamental, and is not intended to be showy. This falls in line with the Puritan belief that one should not call attention to oneself.
This is opposite of Shakespeare, whose writing in England was VERY showy and meant to showcase his skills as a writer. (You know this already, right?)
ENTERTAINMENT!!! Novels and plays were frowned upon, due to a perceived lack of practical religious value.
Puritan Literature, cont'd.
Genres that the Puritans favored:
"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards
Religious poetry
"To My Dear and Loving Husband," Bradstreet
Historical narratives
"Of Plymouth Plantation," William Bradford
How did religion shape Puritan literature?
Religious values were put above all else in every area of these people's lives.
This led to a focus on practical literature (sermons, historical narratives, poetry with a spiritual message).
This also led to a certain style of writing that mirrored the Puritan way of living (plain and simple).
Themes were religious in nature and reflected Puritan values.
The purpose of Puritan literature was to
(No fun allowed!)
The End of Puritanism
There was no longer a need for theocracy.
Puritans became guilty of religious persecution themselves (hypocrites!).
Salem Witch Trials
The Crucible, Arthur Miller (1953)
1740s - a revitalization of Puritanism called The Great Awakening
Exit Ticket
How did religion shape the literature of the Puritan period?
Answer in a minimum of two COMPLETE sentences and use specific examples.
Create a hashtag to summarize Puritan literature - #getcreative!
The Puritans were a little crazy...
A person was fined, imprisoned, and whipped for non-attendance at church services.
Women were not allowed to wear lace or have clothes that showed any skin.
Men were not allowed to have long hair.
ANY kind of PDA (including holding hands!) was punishable by the church.
Children would be whipped for crying in public.
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