By Andrea Knutson
This learn examines how the concept that of conversion and the legacy of the doctrine of training, as articulated in Puritan Reformed theology and transplanted to the Massachusetts Bay colony, remained an important cultural strength shaping advancements in American literature, theology, and in philosophy within the kind of pragmatism.
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Additional info for American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James
Attempts to discern God’s wisdom, as always, can only be known in part and mediately despite the efforts to penetrate the veil that obscures the view and experience an immediate relation to the universe and God. The later Shepard’s intellectualism drove him to write sermons that emphasized preparationism, the need for saints to understand the doctrine behind the piety, to, in effect, be able to “close” with an idea as the means to receive grace. As a result, his later works established a ministry urging parishioners to deal with their doubts through further examination, to make use of all the means to grace but not to trust them, and to employ a lay technologia in discerning matters of the heart, such as the moment a saint feels the fullness of God’s love or when there is an influx of saving knowledge.
And Shepard’s congregants needed to be able to express that they understood the difference. George Selement makes an important distinction between Shepard’s ministerial soteriology and the lay understanding and expression of that soteriology in his study of the narratives. 44 Selement attributes this to a distinction central to the ministration of Shepard’s doctrine of grace instructing congregants to heed the difference between “heart” knowledge and “head” knowledge of every aspect and stage of the conversion process: Shepard had warned his congregation against relying on a knowledge of the intricacies of formal theology for salvation.
7 This “passionate” piety, Miller argues, doesn’t actually run counter to abstract theology in the Puritan mind. ”8 This fissure is the site of daily experience for the Puritans. Located in the space between God’s declared will in scripture and his secret will, experience provided all the accidents of time and place that exerted pressures on theology, shaping interpretation and doctrine. 9 They answer Miller’s call to hear the “looser and vaguer language of human passion” in a way that his study, comprehensive as it is, could not achieve solely through the texts produced by Puritan ministers.
American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James by Andrea Knutson