Friday, November 28, 2008

The Puritans Behind the Myths

CHRISTIAN HISTORY editors Kevin Miller and Mark Galli talked with Dr. Harry S. Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity at Yale University on the historical background the Puritans. Dr. Stout is the author of The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (Oxford, 1986).

They ask:

  • What do we misunderstand about the American Puritans?
  • How would you dispel that myth?
  • So how did the "joyless Puritan" stereotype get started?
  • Were Puritans deeply emotional people?
  • What scared the Puritans?
  • Why do so many people misunderstand the Puritans?
  • Didn't many Puritans come to America primarily to escape persecution?
  • In history, what other groups have so thoroughly tried to create a new religious world?
  • Why did the Puritan experiment finally collapse?
  • How much have the Puritans shaped American culture?
  • In what other ways have Puritans made a major impact on modern American culture?
  • What can modern Christians learn from Puritan Christianity?
  • What happened to this ideal?
  • If you were transported back to 17th-century Massachusetts, what would you find most enjoyable and most difficult?
  • How has studying the Puritans affected you personally?
Read entire issue of The American Puritans from CHRISTIAN HISTORY

See also:

Fruit Pies, Popcorn, and Music

Thanking the Puritans on Thanksgiving

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

American Thanksgivings

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