Offsite Review: Godly Republicanism: Puritans, Pilgrims and a City on a Hill

Godly Republicanism: Puritans, Pilgrims, and a City on a HillBooks and Culture magazine is one of the best magazines for longer form book reviews, seriously articles on history, science and philosophy and in-depth interviews.  It and Englewood Review of Books are the only two physical magazines I read. (Although I primarily read the web editions of both.)

Mark Noll was one of the founding editors of Books and Culture and is a regular contributor.  Here he reviews an academic, but interesting sounding book about the puritans and they way they deal political concepts of Republicanism.

Trends in the study of the Puritans have long functioned as a mirror reflecting broader cultural trends. For George Bancroft in the decades before the Civil War it was the Puritans as heralds of democratic freedom. Progressive historians at the turn of the 20th century treated Puritans as the kind of repressed, mean-spirited, theological bigots that right-thinking Americans were finally learning to live without. In the era dominated by the shocks of Depression, World War, and Cold War, Perry Miller and a host of historians in his train returned to respect the Puritans precisely because of their intellectual rigor, high-mindedness, and lofty moral aspirations. A significant number of evangelical Protestants in the mid-20th century and after have followed the lead of Martyn Lloyd-Jones in finding the specifics of Puritan theology the perfect medicine for a spiritually diseased age. In the 1970s and later, American social historians reflected the culture’s displacement of “hegemonic” ideals by ideals attending to the marginal and the victimized, or by no ideals at all. These historians moved early New England studies away from high theology to explorations of land acquisition, generational conflict, the female life course, Indian wars, economic transactions, and the survival of magic.

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