The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Understanding the Puritans

The scholarly study of the Puritans has been marked in recent years by attempts to understand them in a fully transatlantic context. This follows a broader trend in early American history to focus on “Atlantic world” perspectives, rather than proto-national American ones. While others could view this de-emphasizing of the future United States as ideologically dubious, I think it is a sanguine development for understanding the Puritans in their own places and time. ~ Thomas S Kidd, PhD

[Read more at The Anxious Bench]

Dr. Kidd has recently written reviews of two books that illustrate the transatlantic study of Puritanism:   Godly Republicanism:
   Puritans, Pilgrims, and a City on a Hill
   by Michael P Winship

Bremer.DavenportBuilding a New Jerusalem:  
John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds  
by Francis J Bremer

Editorial Addenda:

“The future United States was not on the Puritans’ minds when they founded New England. Yet (with Ronald Reagan’s help) we still seem to think that John Winthrop—and perhaps even Jesus—meant the American nation when he spoke of a “city on a hill.'” [Excerpt from Thomas Kidd’s review of Francis Bremer’s Building a New Jerusalem: John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds, at Books & Culture]

For more on the problem of viewing Puritanism through the American lens, read the very accessible Richard M Gamble’s In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth Gamble See Dr. Kidd’s review of this work at The Gospel Coalition

Resources for further study:

See Dr. Kidd’s opinion of the best 5 books on the Puritans at Patheos, as well as, his examination of what it means if the Puritans no longer seem very “democratic,” or American, and Dr. Kidd asks whether, following the work of Winship, we might regard the Puritans as the “Original Republicans.”

Thomas Kidd is contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

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