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The Science of the Soul challenges long-standing notions of Puritan provincialism as antithetical to the Enlightenment. Sarah Rivett demonstrates that, instead, empiricism and natural philosophy combined with Puritanism to transform the scope of religious activity in colonial New England from the 1630s to the Great Awakening of the 1740s. In an unprecedented move, Puritan ministers from Thomas Shepard and John Eliot to Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards studied the human soul using the same systematic methods that philosophers applied to the study of nature. In particular, they considered the testimonies of tortured adolescent girls at the center of the Salem witch trials, Native American converts, and dying women as a source of material insight into the divine. Conversions and deathbed speeches were thus scrutinized for evidence of grace in a way that bridged the material and the spiritual, the visible and the invisible, the worldly and the divine. In this way, the ""science of the soul"" was as much a part of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century natural philosophy as it was part of post-Reformation theology. Rivett's account restores the unity of religion and science in the early modern world and highlights the role and importance of both to transatlantic circuits of knowledge formation. | The Science of the Soul challenges long-standing notions of Puritan provincialism as antithetical to the Enlightenment. Sarah Rivett demonstrates that, instead, empiricism and natural philosophy combined with Puritanism to transform the scope of religious activity in colonial New England from the 1630s to the Great Awakening of the 1740s.
Christianity took root in the Americas during the early modern period when a historically unprecedented migration brought European clergy, religious seekers, and explorers to the New World. Protestant and Catholic settlers undertook the arduous journey for a variety of motivations. Some fled corrupt theocracies and sought to reclaim ancient principles and Christian ideals in a remote unsettled territory. Others intended to glorify their home nations and churches by bringing new lands and subjects under rule of their kings. Many imagined the indigenous peoples they encountered as "savages" awaiting the salvific force of Christ. Whether by overtly challenging European religious authority and traditions or by adapting to unforeseen hardship and resistance, these envoys reshaped faith, liturgy, and ecclesiology and fundamentally transformed the practice and theology of Christianity."Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas" explores the impact of colonial encounters in the Atlantic world on the history of Christianity. Essays from across disciplines examine religious history from a spatial perspective, tracing geographical movements and population dispersals as they were shaped by the millennial designs and evangelizing impulses of European empires. At the same time, religion provides a provocative lens through which to view patterns of social restriction, exclusion, and tension as well as those of acculturation, accommodation, and resistance in a comparative colonial context. Through nuanced attention to the particularities of faith, especially Anglo-Protestant settlements in North America and the Ibero-Catholic missions in Latin America, "Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas" illuminates the complexity and variety of the colonial world as it transformed a range of Christian beliefs.Contributors Ralph Bauer, David A. Boruchoff, Matt Cohen, Sir John Elliot, Carmen Fernandez-Salvador, Junia Ferreira Furtado, Sandra M. Gustafson, David D. Hall, Stephanie Kirk, Asuncion Lavrin, Sarah Rivett, Teresa Toulouse.
In 1664, French Jesuit Louis Nicolas arrived in Quebec. Upon first hearing Ojibwe, Nicolas observed that he had encountered the most barbaric language in the world-but after listening to and studying approximately fifteen Algonquian languages over a ten-year period, he wrote that he had "discovered all of the secrets of the most beautiful languages in the universe." Unscripted America is a study of how colonists in North America struggled to understand, translate, and interpret Native American languages, and the significance of these languages for theological and cosmological issues such as the origins of Amerindian populations, their relationship to Eurasian and Biblical peoples, and the origins of language itself. Through a close analysis of previously overlooked texts, Unscripted America places American Indian languages within transatlantic intellectual history, while also demonstrating how American letters emerged in the 1810s through 1830s via a complex and hitherto unexplored engagement with the legacies and aesthetic possibilities of indigenous words. Unscripted America contends that what scholars have more traditionally understood through the Romantic ideology of the noble savage, a vessel of antiquity among dying populations, was in fact a palimpsest of still-living indigenous populations whose presence in American literature remains traceable through words. By examining the foundation of the literary nation through language, writing, and literacy, Unscripted America revisits common conceptions regarding "early america" and its origins to demonstrate how the understanding of America developed out of a steadfast connection to American Indians, both past and present.
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