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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Social Ethics and Social Practice in Puritan New England: A Reconsideration

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Further Reading


David D. Hall, A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England, Knopf Publishers, 2011. Hall compares the New England colonies with England during the English Revolution, arguing that colonists were, in fact, the most effective and daring reformers of their day.


David D. Hall, The Faithful Shepherd: A History of the New England Ministry in the Seventeenth Century, Harvard University Press, 2006. Though the early American religious experience is often thought of as primarily liberalizing, Hall makes the case that colonial America in reality saw an institutional development returning to older European forms.


David D. Hall, Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England, Harvard University Press, 1990. A seminal work of social history chronicling the complex layers of colonial religious life.


Sidney E. Mead, The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America, Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2007 [1963]. A classic mid-century grand narrative of puritan religious development as defined by the frontier.


Patricia U. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America, Oxford University Press,1986. Through her examination of various colonial communities, Bonomi argues that religion was just as instrumental as politics and the economy in shaping early American life and values.


Henry F. May, The Enlightenment in America, Oxford University Press, 1978. An intellectual history of the impact of the Enlightenment on American ideals in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Michael P. Winship, Making Heretics: Militant Protestantism and Free Grace in Massachusetts, 1636-1641, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002. A recasting of interlocked religious and political struggles as a complex ongoing interaction of personalities and personal agendas and as a succession of short-term events with cumulative results.