Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England

Article excerpt

AMERICAN AND CANADIAN The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England. By Sarah Rivett. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. 2011. Pp. xvi, 364. $45.00. ISBN 978-0-80783524-1.)

The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England is an extraordinary account of the relationship between spiritual and scientific knowledge of the self in the earlymodern transatlantic. With broad range, intellectual depth, and carefully crafted prose, it outlines an innovative reading of early American writing, which it pursues with rigor and precision across an extended geographical and chronological range. Returning to familiar texts, cultures, and contexts, the book offers an entirely new way of imagining links between the religious and rational cultures of the seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. Engaging within and across disciplines, The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England makes a dynamic contribution to theological, literary, and historical discussions, and offers to shift entirely the perspective of a great deal of recent scholarship.

Rivett's book returns to the question of the character of life writing in colonial America. Her discussion of familiar texts edited or written by John Eliot and others advances upon earlier efforts to contextualize the genre of the conversion narrative. The innovative aspect of the argument of The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England is its consideration of the discursive field in which these arguments were articulated-a discursive field that borrowed the heuristic tools of emerging scientific communities to gather and interpret the data of spiritual experience. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.