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Shapers of English Calvinism, 1660–1714Variety, Persistence, and Transformation$
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Dewey D. Wallace

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744831.001.0001

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Peter Sterry

Peter Sterry

Calvinist Mystic

(p.51) 2 Peter Sterry
Shapers of English Calvinism, 1660–1714

Dewey D. Wallace, Jr.

Oxford University Press

Peter Sterry (1613–1673) was a Puritan spiritual writer and Calvinist theologian educated at Cambridge and associated with the Cambridge Platonists. A radical Independent, he preached before Parliament in the 1640s, advised Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s, and after the Restoration retreated to the estate of Viscount Lisle, where he instructed a circle of disciples. He brought to fruition mystical elements in earlier Puritan spirituality and shaped his mysticism under the influence of Renaissance Neo-Platonism, Jewish Kabbalism, and Jacob Boehme. He wrote complex, ecstatic prose and drew erotic imagery from the Song of Solomon. His mysticism was rooted in Calvinist teaching about the soul's union with Christ. His strong predestinarianism eventually took a universalist turn. Exploiting the mystical potential of Calvinism, he belies the stereotype that Calvinism and mysticism were incompatible.

Keywords:   Peter Sterry, Cambridge Platonists, mysticism, Calvinism, Jacob Boehme, Universalism

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