By Andrea Knutson
This examine examines how the idea that of conversion and the legacy of the doctrine of instruction, as articulated in Puritan Reformed theology and transplanted to the Massachusetts Bay colony, remained an essential cultural strength shaping advancements in American literature, theology, and in philosophy within the kind of pragmatism.
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Extra info for American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James
He would not grant the sway of economic need over the human will. 50 As the central human faculty in Puritan psychology and therefore in conversion, the will served as a conductor between experience in and knowledge about the world and the muscles, powers, and passions that constituted action. The fact that the will acted as an affective agent in moving a saint to and from an object meant that though an intellectual understanding of doctrine and law was important to conversion, conversion was not possible without the affective dimension, without the will’s effect on the heart.
Shepard was aware of the power that language had to bind a community of saints together and to prevent isolation from that group identity, and he was aware of that same power to also inhibit grace. ” Though the saints relate their testimonies in personal terms, reflecting “heart” knowledge of Christ, their new identities as members of Shepard’s church depended on their ability to communicate their adoption of New England as a new means. As a result, their rhetorical performances affirm New England as the context for their revived faith at the same time that they affirm New England’s revived identification as means within the context of the doctrine of preparation.
His comparisons between theories of the will’s operations historicize it as a concept and make some important distinctions that complicate the reasons why the nature of the will was so central to Puritan theology. ”14 In Fiering’s analysis, Ames stands as an important figure because his theology synthesized ideas about the will in that it contained aspects of Augustinian voluntarism that stood in opposition to predominantly held views. As Fiering explains, the established view in Ames’s day, reflecting faculty psychology, was the intellectualist position, granting a dual-faceted nature to the rational soul; the understanding first judges objects and ideas of experience as good or bad, and the will, as the “rational appetite,” either embraces or rejects what the understanding presents to it.
American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James by Andrea Knutson