Getting to know…

Getting to know…
Where did the name “Puritan”
come from?
• Anglican Church members who sought to “purify”
the Church of England
• Believed neither the clergy nor the government has the right to act as intermediary between man and God.
• Personal relationship with God
• Thought government had too much power in people’s religious lives
Because of this, many were persecuted, put in jail, tortured, and even killed.
• So they fled to Holland,
then America
• Looking for a place to
practice religion the way
they wanted to
When did they come to
• In 1620, William Bradford led a small group to the New World. • Cape Cod, in what
• On a rock
What did the Puritans believe?
The Bible
• Puritans viewed the Bible as authoritative for all issues of faith and morals • Belief in the literal authority of the Bible, which served as a model for their own lives.
• This view led them to feel strongly the importance of preaching and declaring the entirety of Scripture to their people Pre-destination
• The belief that God chooses an ‘elect’ few to save from eternal damnation
• The elect are chosen before they are born
• You never knows if you belong to the damned or the elect group
• You must therefore live a holy life (you never know if you are elected)
• BUT, salvation comes from God’s grace, not good deeds or intentions
• If God chooses to bestow the gift of pre‐destination, then it will be reflected in behavior: self‐reliance, industriousness (seriousness), temperance (self‐
restraint), and simplicity
• A person who was outwardly sinful was manifesting the evil that had been predestined for him
• Puritans believed they must set an example with their behavior
• There would be serious consequences if they did not live up to their beliefs
• Puritans entered into a contract with God to create a society governed by the Scriptures
• Everyone works together for the common good • Hard work and success are signs of God’s grace
• But human beings are sinful by nature and Satan is a formidable enemy with many disguises, so the Puritan lifestyle demanded strict conformity
• Dissenters were often flogged, banished, or even sometimes put to death
So Puritan beliefs in a nutshell…
• All human beings are
sinners, even when
they’re acting good
• God picked who was
saved and who was
(Although being wealthy
and happy seemed like
a clue…)
• Only way to try and find
out was to closely
observe others
• Great emphasis on
universal education
(needed it to read the
Word of God)
• Patience, simplicity, and
strong work ethic
What kind of government did
they make when they arrived?
• On the trip, they
signed the
Mayflower Compact
• Prepared way for
But really…
• Puritans believed that God’s “elect” should
have the most say, so effectively things ran
as a theocracy.
• Not very democratic in practice
Bottom Line
• The Puritans were single‐minded visionaries, but they felt that their beliefs alone were correct.
• “They believed, in short, that they held in their steady hands the candle that would light the world.” ‐Arthur Miller
Coming from 16th & 17th
Century Europe, the Puritans were leaving behind the literary culture of Shakespeare & Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote
(the first novel), so what were they sailing towards?
Literature of the Puritans
• Purpose of Puritan Literature:
– Spiritual enlightenment and enrichment
– Record history
– Personal reflection
• Puritans were not allowed to read fiction for pleasure
• Literature and art’s main purposes were to teach • The Puritans were able to be successful writers because they were incredibly well‐educated
• Supported the idea of education for all of the colonists
Literature of the Puritans
“History” to encourage other settlers
Accounts/diaries: daily life & spirituality
Characteristics of Puritan Writings
• The language was very plain, clear, with no figures of speech or flowery/lavish description (surprise!)
• Many allusions to people and incidents from the Bible (surprise!!!)
• No novels or plays
– Against religious beliefs because they are necessarily false and contain lies
– Plus they are too fancy