By Sarah Rivett
The technology of the Soul demanding situations long-standing notions of Puritan provincialism as antithetical to the Enlightenment. Sarah Rivett demonstrates that, in its place, empiricism and ordinary philosophy mixed with Puritanism to rework the scope of non secular task in colonial New England from the 1630s to the good Awakening of the 1740s.
In an unparalleled circulate, Puritan ministers from Thomas Shepard and John Eliot to Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards studied the human soul utilizing an analogous systematic equipment that philosophers utilized to the learn of nature. particularly, they thought of the tales of tortured adolescent ladies on the heart of the Salem witch trials, local American converts, and death girls as a resource of fabric perception into the divine. Conversions and deathbed speeches have been therefore scrutinized for proof of grace in a fashion that bridged the cloth and the religious, the noticeable and the invisible, the worldly and the divine.
In this fashion, the "science of the soul" was once as a lot part of 17th- and eighteenth-century normal philosophy because it used to be a part of post-Reformation theology. Rivett's account restores the cohesion of faith and technology within the early sleek global and highlights the function and value of either to transatlantic circuits of information formation.
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1–38, Royal Society, London. 18. , LIV (1997), 138; Ruth Paley, Cristina Malcolmson, and Michael Hunter, “Parliament and Slavery, 1660–c. 1710,” Slavery and Abolition, XXXI (2010), 257–281. , 2008), 14–27. 20 • Introduction colonialism, and the like. Ministers in the first generation of the Great Migration, such as John Eliot, offered what became a widely accepted interpretation of New World discovery and the success of his people there. During the formation of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1644–1648), Eliot developed a theory of the dispersal and degeneration of the lost tribes in North America, basing his argument on Deuteronomy 28:64.
13 Neither material in its composition nor fully outside the material world, the human soul occupied an enticing space between the material and the spiritual. Consequently, its ontology spawned considerable debate between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. 14 This debate over the soul landed some philosophers, most notably Thomas Hobbes, in a great deal of trouble. Hobbes caused such a stir not simply because The Leviathan (1651) highlighted the ascendancy of atheism. Rather, The Leviathan threatened to disenchant the world through its fundamental denial of a cosmic perfection that could be only fleetingly grasped.
Assurance purified the knowledge acquired through the human senses, cautiously carving out an avenue to divinity that presented the potential to exceed the boundaries of what could be known exclusively through revelation. Greatly reducing the dangerous phenomena that natural philosophers came to call phantasms and theologians called hypocrisy, theologians and natural philosophers turned to human souls to acquire new knowledge of the divine. Throughout the Atlantic world, experimental religion and experimental philosophy increasingly became a means of affirming an otherwise elusive external reality.
The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England by Sarah Rivett