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Full-Text Articles in United States History

New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy Iv: Experience Mayhew’S Dissertation On Edwards’S Humble Inquiry, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2016

New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy Iv: Experience Mayhew’S Dissertation On Edwards’S Humble Inquiry, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

This fourth installment in a series exploring newly discovered manuscripts relating to the “Qualifications Controversy” that drove Edwards from his Northampton pastorate presents an unpublished oppositional dissertation by Experience Mayhew, a prominent eighteenth-century Indian missionary from Martha’s Vineyard. Next to Solomon Stoddard, Mayhew was Edwards’s most important theological target during the conflict. Where Edwards pressed toward precision in defining the qualifications for admission to the Lord’s Supper, Mayhew remained convinced that the standards for membership in New England’s Congregational churches should encompass a broad range of knowledge and experience. His rejoinder to Edwards’s Humble Inquiry ...


Lydia Prout’S Dreadfullest Thought, Douglas L. Winiarski Sep 2015

Lydia Prout’S Dreadfullest Thought, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

What was Lydia Prout’s “dreadfullest thought”? This microhistory, which examines one of the earliest devotional journals penned by a woman in British North America, uncovers surprising connections between the “unruly passion” of a devoted mother who suffered repeated bereavements during the 1710s and the Satanic fantasies of Salem witchcraft confessors in 1692. An annotated edition of Prout’s journal is reproduced in the essay’s appendix.


The Sodomy Trial Of Nicholas Sension, 1677: Documents And Teaching Guide, Richard Godbeer, Douglas L. Winiarski Apr 2014

The Sodomy Trial Of Nicholas Sension, 1677: Documents And Teaching Guide, Richard Godbeer, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

The sodomy trial of Nicholas Sension in 1677 has long fascinated historians, in part because the surviving documentation from this particular case is exceptionally full and richly detailed, but also because it challenges long-held assumptions about attitudes toward sodomy in early America. The trial records cast light not only on the history of sexuality but also on a broad range of themes relating to seventeenth-century New England’s society and culture. Yet until now no complete edition of the documents from Sension’s trial has appeared in print. This edition is intended primarily for use in undergraduate courses. It includes ...


New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy Iii: Count Vavasor's Tirade And The Second Council, 1751, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2014

New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy Iii: Count Vavasor's Tirade And The Second Council, 1751, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

Jonathan Edwards’ fateful decision to repudiate the church admission practices of his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, provoked a bitter dispute with his parishioners that led to his dismissal in 1750. Scholars have long debated the meaning of this crucial turning point in Edwards’ pastoral career. For early biographers, the Northampton communion controversy served as an index of eighteenth-century religious decline. More recent studies situate Edwards’ dismissal within a series of local quarrels over his salary, the “Bad Book” affair, conflicts with the Williams family, and the paternity case of Elisha Hawley. This essay is the first a series that reexamines the ...


New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy Ii: Relations, Professions, And Experiences, 1748-1760, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2014

New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy Ii: Relations, Professions, And Experiences, 1748-1760, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

The second installment of a five-part series presenting documents relating to the “Qualifications Controversy” that led to Edwards’ dismissal at Northampton, this article presents a series of “relations,” or lay spiritual autobiographies presented for church membership. These relations come from other Massachusetts churches, many of whose pastors were aligned with Edwards, and yet reveal some significant differences from the form and content that Edwards came to advocate for such relations.


New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy I: David Hall's Diary And Letter To Edward Billing, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2013

New Perspectives On The Northampton Communion Controversy I: David Hall's Diary And Letter To Edward Billing, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

Jonathan Edwards’ fateful decision to repudiate the church admission practices of his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, provoked a bitter dispute with his parishioners that led to his dismissal in 1750. Scholars have long debated the meaning of this crucial turning point in Edwards’ pastoral career. For early biographers, the Northampton communion controversy served as an index of eighteenth-century religious decline. More recent studies situate Edwards’ dismissal within a series of local quarrels over his salary, the “Bad Book” affair, conflicts with the Williams family, and the paternity case of Elisha Hawley. This essay is the first a series that reexamines the ...


The Newbury Prayer Bill Hoax: Devotion And Deception In New England's Era Of Great Awakenings, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2012

The Newbury Prayer Bill Hoax: Devotion And Deception In New England's Era Of Great Awakenings, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

[...] [T]he “Tappin manuscript,” as I refer to it in the essay that follows, presents an intriguing puzzle. If Christopher Toppan did not compose the unusual prayer request, then who did? When? Why? Solving the riddle of the Tappin manuscript leads us into the troubled final years of one of New England’s most pugnacious ministers and the evangelical underworld of the Great Awakening that he had come to despise.


Religious Experiences In New England, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2010

Religious Experiences In New England, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

This chapter examines the shifting language of conversion in New England Congregationalism - the bastion of Puritan culture in North America - from the period of settlement in the 1630s to the eve of the Civil War. Evidence is drawn from a database of more than a thousand church-admission narratives from nearly three dozen communities scattered across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Throughout this period, most Congregational ministers remained committed to a Calvinist theology that emphasized innate human depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace. Yet the importance of conversion - the sacred calculus through which God winnowed saints from sinners - waxed ...


Gendered "Relations" In Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1719-1742, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2009

Gendered "Relations" In Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1719-1742, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

The two autobiographical narratives- so similar in content, structure, and physical appearance-raise intriguing questions regarding the degree to which Puritan gender norms shaped the religious experiences of laymen and laywomen in early New England. Historians remain divided in their analyses of this issue. Two decades ago Charles Cohen posited a spiritual equality in Reformed theology that rendered "androgynous" the language that laymen and laywomen deployed in the oral church admission testimonies recorded by Cambridge, Massachusetts, minister Thomas Shepard during the seventeenth century. Elizabeth Reis recently challenged Cohen's argument by highlighting the "subtle but significant ways" in which women internalized ...


A Question Of Plain Dealing: Josiah Cotton, Native Christians, And The Quest For Security In Eighteenth-Century Plymouth County, Douglas L. Winiarski Sep 2004

A Question Of Plain Dealing: Josiah Cotton, Native Christians, And The Quest For Security In Eighteenth-Century Plymouth County, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

In the wake of King Philip's War (1675-76), Wampanoags throughout the "Old Colony" - Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable Counties in southeastern Massachusetts - struggled to pick up the pieces of a culture shattered by violence and warfare, riven with internal dissension, and plagued by economic exploitation and English racism. As several revisionist studies have shown, Indians like Ned turned to Christianity to combat the social and economic challenges confronting their communities during the first half of the eighteenth century, but they did so in complex and at times contradictory ways. The tenant families at Plain Dealing, for example, consigned their families ...


The Education Of Joseph Prince: Reading Adolescent Culture In Eighteenth-Century New England, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2004

The Education Of Joseph Prince: Reading Adolescent Culture In Eighteenth-Century New England, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

Among the earliest extant manuscripts composed by a New England adolescent, Prince's commonplace book both confirms and modifies existing studies of the transition from childhood to adulthood in early America. Unlike the night-walking youths who appear in revisionist scholarship, Prince never was haled before the Plymouth County court to answer charges of "frolicking" with his cronies. Instead, this dutiful scion of a wealthy and politically powerful southeastern Massachusetts clan spent most of his free time perusing the books in his father's extensive library. Yet the very act of reading held subversive potential. While his parents sought to hone ...


"A Jornal Of A Fue Days At York": The Great Awakening On The Northern New England Frontier, Douglas L. Winiarski Jan 2004

"A Jornal Of A Fue Days At York": The Great Awakening On The Northern New England Frontier, Douglas L. Winiarski

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

During the early 1740s, New England communities along the northern frontier witnessed a series of religious revivals that were part of a transatlantic movement known as the Great Awakening. Promoted by touring evangelists such as George Whitefield and lesser known local clergyman, the revivals dominated the daily activities of ordinary men and women. Published here for the first time, "Jornal of a fue Days at York, 1741," presents a vivid portrayal of the local dynamics of the Awakening in Maine and New Hampshire. The author of the 'Jornal," an anonymous Boston merchant, chronicled nightly prayer meetings, conversations with pious local ...