By Andrea Knutson
This examine examines how the idea that of conversion and the legacy of the doctrine of education, as articulated in Puritan Reformed theology and transplanted to the Massachusetts Bay colony, remained a necessary cultural strength shaping advancements in American literature, theology, and in philosophy within the kind of pragmatism.
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Additional resources for American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James
A saint need only use the method of perception informed by technologia. Shepard’s embrace of method reflects his preparationism and his familiarity with logic and the doctrine of technologia; as a form of means, developing as full an understanding of the Lord was prudent, for the will cannot consent to an object without understanding it. The means in this way was a method of collecting as much information as possible not only about the state of one’s soul, but also about Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God’s divine plan.
As such, it served as the discursive point of departure for theological ventures into characterizing and determining the ontological boundaries between a saint and God that became confused in the course of experience. This chapter examines the narratives of confession Thomas Shepard collected as tests for church membership in order to uncover how congregants understood their pursuit of belief in the process of conversion, specifically as it is conceived in the New World. As essentially narrative reconstructions of the movement of the will toward truth, the confessions present the workings of consciousness as each saint moves through experience.
48 According to this passage, arrival to New England actually marked a kind of initiation of their spiritual journey, and New England became the testing ground that may or may not have yielded signs of a regenerate will. The disruptions in the morphology expressed in the testimonies exhibit a moment of crisis in a saint’s lived process of faith that was not contained by any standard doctrine of election. 49 What the testimonies reveal is the test of a saint’s ability to keep the idea of salvation alive, to have it exist as a possibility for their souls.
American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James by Andrea Knutson