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Spiritual, but not ReligiousUnderstanding Unchurched America$
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Robert C. Fuller

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195146806

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195146808.001.0001

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The Emergence of Unchurched Traditions

The Emergence of Unchurched Traditions

(p.13) 1 The Emergence of Unchurched Traditions
Spiritual, but not Religious

Robert C. Fuller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In colonial America, only 15% of the population belonged to a church. The majority was nonetheless spiritual at a personal level, but fashioned their personal beliefs by drawing upon a variety of magical and occult philosophies. Astrology, divination, and witchcraft permeated everyday life in the colonies. By the early and mid‐nineteenth century, the writings of the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg and the American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson gave middle‐class Americans a new vocabulary for describing their inner‐relationship to unseen spiritual dimensions of life. And, by the latter part of the nineteenth century, both mesmerism and spiritualism provided general audiences with new ways of exploring this inner‐relationship to the spirit world.

Keywords:   astrology, Colonial America, Emerson, magical, mesmerism, occult, spiritualism, Swedenborg, transcendentalist, Witchcraft

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