The Science of Intolerance: Puritans and Dissention in Seventeenth-Century New England

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Authors
Osborne, Gregory
Issue Date
2020-05-01T00:00:00-07:00
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Master of Arts (MA)
Academic Department
History
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Abstract
This thesis examines the relationship between science and Puritanism in colonial New England during the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century by examining outbreaks of opposition to Puritan hegemony. It examines how the trans-Atlantic world of early modern science shaped the mind of Puritan elites to think concurrently in scientific and theological terms in defense of their faith, specifically how the application of scientific principles supplanted inward experience in pursuit of knowledge. Focusing on certain Puritan luminaries, such as John Winthrop, Increase Mather, and Cotton Mather, this thesis demonstrates that throughout the seventeenth century, Puritan leaders exceedingly defended their traditional form of congregationalism against opposition with a scientific mind . Additionally, this thesis utilizes a combination of sermons, journals, pamphlets, and publications, to uncover that for a short while in the colonial history of New England, science and religion coalesced for the betterment of both.
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