Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea

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Cornell University Press, 1965 - History - 159 pages
4 Reviews

Through a richly detailed account of the genesis, flowering, and decline of the Puritan ideal of a church of the elect in England and America, Professor Morgan offers an important reinterpretation of a pivotal era in New England history.

Historians have generally supposed that the main outlines of the Puritan church were determined in England and Holland and transplanted to the new world. The author convincingly suggests, instead, that the distinguishing characteristic of the New England churchesóthe ideal of a church composed exclusively of true and tested saintsódeveloped fully only in the 1630's and 1640's, some time after the first settlers arrived in New England. He also examines the influence of the Separatist colony at Plymouth on the later settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and follows the difficulties created by a definition of the religious community so selective that the New England churches nearly expired for lack of saints to fill them.

  

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User Review  - dougshow - LibraryThing

I found this book very helpful in understanding early Puritanism in America. I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to study that era of American religious history. The two very helpful things about ... Read full review

Review: Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea

User Review  - Chris Comis - Goodreads

Very informative book on the separatist wing of the Puritan movement. The separating Puritans were a great example of what happens when men strive after purity of life and doctrine, but at the expense ... Read full review

Contents

The Ideal of a Pure Church
1
The Separatist Contribution 55
33
The New England System
64
The Halfway Covenant
113
Full Circle
139
INDEX
153
Copyright

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About the author (1965)

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Edmund Morgan spent most of his youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was educated at the Belmont Hill School, Harvard, and the London School of Economics. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1942 and three years later began his teaching career at the University of Chicago.From there he moved first to Brown University and then to Yale, where he became Sterling Professor in 1965 and emeritus in 1986. Morgan's historical writings greatly enhance our understanding of such complex aspects of the American experience as Puritanism, the Revolution, and the relationship between slavery and racism. At the same time, they captivate readers in the classroom and beyond. His work is a felicitous blend of rigorous scholarship, imaginative analysis, and graceful presentation. Although sometimes characterized as the quintessential Whig historian, in reality Morgan transcends simplistic categorization and has done more, perhaps, than any other historian to open new and creative paths of inquiry into the meaning of the early American experience.

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