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Martyrs' Mirror: Persecution and Holiness in Early New England

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 31 Jul 2014
Martyrs' Mirror examines the folklore of martyrdom among seventeenth-century New England Protestants, exploring how they imagined themselves within biblical and historical narratives of persecution. Memories of martyrdom, especially stories of the Protestants killed during the reign of Queen Mary in the mid-sixteenth century, were central to a model of holiness and political legitimacy. The colonists of early New England drew on this historical imaginationin order to strengthen their authority in matters of religion during times of distress. By examining how the notions of persecution and martyrdom move in and out of the writing of the period, Adrian Chastain Weimer finds that the idea of the true church as a persecuted church infused colonial identity. Though contested, the martyrs formed a shared heritage, and fear of being labeled a persecutor, or even admiration for a cheerful sufferer, could serve to inspire religious tolerance. The sense of being persecuted also allowed colonists to avoid responsibility for aggression against Algonquian tribes. Surprisingly, those wishing to defend maltreated Christian Algonquians wrote their history as a continuation of the persecutions of the true church. This examination of the historical imaginationof martyrdom contributes to our understanding of the meaning of suffering and holiness in English Protestant culture, of the significance of religious models to debates over political legitimacy, and of the cultural history of persecution and tolerance.
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ISBN-13: 9780199390953
ISBN-10: 0199390959
Pagini: 240
Dimensiuni: 170 x 234 x 17 mm
Greutate: 0.36 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării: New York, United States


In a wonderfully insightful work, Adrian Chastain Weimer explores the politics of martyrdom in early American history. Martyrs' Mirror should be read not just by historians and literary critics but by anyone interested in religious persecution and the struggles among various groups to claim the title 'martyr.' A real tour de force.
Adrian Chastain Weimer creatively and persuasively reads the historical imagination of martyrdom and holy suffering to demonstrate how New Englanders relied on the ideals of martyrdom and martyrs to negotiate their religious, social, and racial identities. She challenges us to grasp the significance of persecution and narratives of martyrdom in the worlds-both actual and imagined-of early religious New Englanders from Congregationalists and Separatists toAntinomians, Baptists, and Quakers.
Weimer's well-conceived and well-researched book explores how the contested reflections of sixteenth-century martyrological sensibilities indebted especially to John Foxe were refracted among Congregationalists, Separatists, Antinomians, Baptists, and Quakers in seventeenth-century New England. Martyrs' Mirror makes clear that a pervasive sense of persecution as connoting divine favor, intertwined with unresolved rivalries about true Christianity and thetrue church, were among the cultural commodities that accompanied English Protestants in their transatlantic crossings.
Weimer's book offers a valuable contribution to the study of transatlantic Protestantism.

Notă biografică

Adrian Chastain Weimer is Assistant Professor of History at Providence College.