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Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World$
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Kathleen Lynch

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199643936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199643936.001.0001

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Experiencing election in a true gospel-church state

(p.121) 3 1653
Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World

Kathleen Lynch

Oxford University Press

A new mode of autobiographical narrative was rapidly codified in England and its Atlantic colonies in the 1650s, with a burst of publications. A strict emphasis on methodologies of assent unified religious Independents. Local contingencies and universalizing tendencies are examined in the three anthologies of spiritual experiences that were published in print in London in 1653. These publications grew out of churches gathered in London, Dublin, and Natick, a praying Indian village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The first two collections, associated with Vavasor Powell, Henry Walker, and John Rogers, have served as touchstones of the form. The third, Tears of Repentance, contains the first, albeit heavily mediated, transcription of first-person Amerindian conversion testimony from John Eliot’s mission, and has therefore figured as an originary document in a different tradition. This chapter brings to the foreground the ideological aspirations that, when wedded to institutional formations, drove this inward-looking process.

Keywords:   Vavasor Powell, Henry Walker, religious Independents, John Rogers, John Eliot, spiritual experiences, Tears of Repentance, Amerindian conversions

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