Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England

David Hall, Author, Diane Keitt, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $29.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-394-50108-6
Hall, history professor at Boston University, proffers as the subject of his sixth book ``religion as lay men and women knew and practiced it'' in 17th century New England. He stresses the significance of the Protestant Reformation in Europe as a people's movement that emphasized the vernacular, as in the Book of Common Prayer, and prepared the ground for spare, ritual-less American Christianity, as exemplified by Cotton Mather's. Hall shows that religion in New England was grounded in almost-universal literacy, enabling colonists to be independent thinkers, even as they argued over dissent, witchcraft and spirituality. His thesis of the religious empowerment of lay people contributes importantly to our understanding of the American heritage. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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