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By Louise A. Breen
This examine deals a brand new interpretation of the Puritan "Antinomian" controversy and a skillful research of its wider and long-term social and cultural importance. Breen argues that controversy either mirrored and fostered higher questions of id that will persist in Puritan New England through the seventeenth century. a few concerns mentioned the following comprise the life of individualism in a society that valued conformity and the reaction of participants of an inward-looking, localistic tradition to these between them of a extra "cosmopolitan" nature. vital to Breen's research is the traditional and Honorable Artillery corporation of Massachusetts, an elite social membership that attracted a heterogeneous but sought after club, and whose variety contrasted with the social and non secular beliefs of the cultural majority.
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Extra resources for Transgressing the Bounds: Subversive Enterprises among the Puritan Elite in Massachusetts, 1630-1692
63 Wheelwright’s greatest failing in Winthrop’s eyes was that he evinced hostility, not “tendernesse of heart,” toward those whom he described as works-righteous. ” Colonists who “professe their faith in Christ only, etc. ”64 the antinomian moment 31 John Cotton, unlike Wheelwright, was universally regarded as mild of manner. Yet in exchanges with orthodox ministers even he was accused of being insufﬁciently charitable, for his views were thought to deprive professed Christians of the peace of mind that might come from right living and striving after faith.
And Cotton’s tactic of focusing on the issue of family loyalty obscured the more substantive question that Hutchinson, Savage, and Gibbons had raised: Why must the individual always submit to the will of the group? If Hutchinson’s defenders focused on the church’s obligation to satisfy the needs of one errant member, the Massachusetts ministers believed that the airing of “grave” theological errors, while possibly edifying to Hutchinson, should be concluded as soon as possible because such discussion might pollute the minds of spectators (especially women).
110 Once consensus was reached, the clergymen believed, the individual who scrupled it must either capitulate quickly or face public humiliation. ”111 The framers of orthodoxy, paying heed to the remarks made by men like Savage, Stoddard, and Hutchinson, worried that the diverse positions forced together under the antinomian umbrella would destroy the unity desperately needed in a new plantation dedicated to right religion. The proliferation of antinomian ideas, it was feared, might embolden people to chart their own ecclesiastical destinies and to throw off societal responsibilities.
Transgressing the Bounds: Subversive Enterprises among the Puritan Elite in Massachusetts, 1630-1692 by Louise A. Breen