Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World/Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England/William Perkins & the Making of a Protestant England/John Owen and English Puritanism, Experiences of Defeat/Faithful Bodies: Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World/Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England/William Perkins & the Making of a Protestant England/John Owen and English Puritanism, Experiences of Defeat/Faithful Bodies: Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic

Article excerpt

Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modem World. Edited by Alec Ryrie and Tom Schwanda, Christianities in the Trans-Atlantic World, 15001800. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016, Pp. 243. $100.00); Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England. By Abram C. Van Engen. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015, Pp. xii, 311. $74.00); William Perkins & the Making of a Protestant England. By W. B. Patterson (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, Pp. ix, 265. $105.00); John Owen and English Puritanism, Experiences of Defeat. By Crawford Gribben. Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, Pp. xiv, 401. $74.00); Faithful Bodies: Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic. By Heather Miyano Kopelson. Early American Places. (New York: New York University Press, 2014, Pp. xiii, 371. $45.00.)

Revisionism about Puritans proceeds apace. Alec Ryrie and Tom Schwanda introduce Puritans and Emotion in the Early Modem World with the statement, "There was a time when the title 'Puritanism and Emotion' would have seemed like the set-up for a weak joke." Indeed, that time has long since passed. Historians Perry Miller and Edmund S. Morgan demonstrated that Puritans were very emotional, so this revisionist casting of the Puritans as emotional is almost a century old. Nevertheless, there remains among some a sense that Puritans were stoical types. This misunderstanding is probably owed in part to the canon of American literature, notably Nathaniel Hawthorne or Arthur Miller, for example. Not only that, intellectual historians associate sympathy with early modern philosophers or latitudinarian theologians rather than with Puritans. Both Sympathetic Puritans and Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modem World leave us without excuse. These chapters are part literary study, part social history, and part historical theology. They make up a transatlantic study of emotion in Puritanism.

The subjects in Ryrie's and Schwanda's edited collection are mostly on the British side of the Atlantic. Keith Condle explains how Richard Baxter, ever mindful of the minister's challenge, advanced the idea that emotion governed by reason was essential to spiritual experience. According to Baxter, emotional responses were not only fitting but necessary for the Christian as both response and motivation toward right conduct and truth. Such emotion was part of the general revelation of God responding to His particular revelation in scripture. Karl Jones explicates the role of joy in the theology of Thomas Goodwin. Just as God is happy in himself, so the saint rightly shares in God's joy and in the enjoyment of God. Failure to delight in God was evidence of spiritual sickness. Tom Schwanda explains the role of the be_168.tific vision, even medieval and patristic theology, in the theology of Thomas Watson. Through spiritual duties, exercises, and contemplation, the saint was to strive for an emotional be_168.tific vision that would anticipate the delights of heaven. S. Bryan Roberts summarizes the role of happiness in the writings of Robert Bolton, John Norden, and Francis Rous. For these Puritans, joy came through obedience. Adrian Chastain Weimer examines both lay experiences and published works of ministers, including Thomas Shepard (a subject for Van Engen as well). David Walker revisits Baxter but also provides insight into John Bünyan. Kate Narveson returns us to the lay experience in striving for assurance (during the English Civil War). Nathaniel Warne appropriately places the Puritan emphasis on emotion in the context of community.

Van Engen's Sympathetic Puritans focuses on the emotion of sympathy. Contra the perception of Puritans as judgmental, Van Engen demonstrates that Puritan fellow-feeling came in many forms and provides ample evidence for his case. He begins with sources of the Reformation and Reformed theology, Erasmus and Calvin respectively. One need look no further than John Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity" (1630) wherein the "city on a hill" would only succeed insofar as it engaged charity and mutual feeling toward the common good. …

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