Seers of God
Puritan Providentialism in the Restoration and Early Enlightenment
Observing that intellectual changes within late-seventeenth-century Massachusetts Puritan culture closely paralleled changes within Puritan culture in England, Michael Winship re-examines one of the more nettlesome issues in the intellectual history of early New England. How did the logic Puritanism square itself with the increasingly hostile assumptions of the early Enlightenment? And, faced with a new intellectual world whose parameters were formed to a large extent in opposition to Puritanism, how did Puritans try to maintain credibility? In Seers of God, Winship's compelling analysis of topics ranging from theology to witchcraft places the problem of intellectual change fully in a transatlantic context.
About the Author
Michael P. Winship is an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia.
"Winship's sophisticated and compelling study of Puritan providentialism in Massachusetts during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries examines the impact of cultural politics in Restoration England on New England's intellectual history and sheds new light on the ways in which Puritan thinkers responded to the imperatives of the early Enlightenment."
"This is an impressive book. It explores with subtlety one of those fascinating moments when the intricate connections between a certain kind of religious discourse shades into that outlook we connect with the Enlightenment, and discloses how rooted was the English Enlightenment in certain matters of theological discussion. As an exploration into a mentality, it is a test case in the analysis of 'Weberian disenchantment' and of a society struggling with cognitive disonance... Winship is especially strong in clarifying the political use of disenchantment and the political meaning of reason for Restoration Anglicans—seldom has a theological shift in its political context been so clearly delineated."
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