Calvin. History and Reception of a Reformation Week 4. The Spread of Calvinism Sequence 5. From Calvinism to Puritanism Welcome to today's sequence, which will focus on Puritanism. As you know, Puritans do not have the best of reputations. The Puritan is seen as someone who is rigid, whose moral conscience is oppressive, who cultivates the notion of guilt. One historian facetiously defined Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." To be fair, Puritans are also people who display great integrity and professionalism, who live in accordance with God's commands, who reject all forms of excess and who practice temperance. The Puritan is, so to speak, a sort of Stoic of the modern era. What exactly is meant by Puritanism? Puritanism is a Protestant religious movement, principally Anglo-Saxon, that developed in England from the second half of the 16th century to the end of the 17th. In the American colonies, its development extended all the way to the beginning of the 18th century. This current -- and this is why we are discussing it today -- finds its origins in Calvinism. The word "Puritan" was originally an epithet: coined in 1572, it was rejected by those it was meant to describe. In England, Puritans were people who rejected the "middle way" prescribed by the Anglican Church of England, which was on the fence between Rome and Geneva and attempting to find compromises to suit both sides. Puritans, rejecting Rome altogether, turned exclusively to Geneva for religious guidance. Under Elizabeth I (1558-1603), no major cleavage existed between Anglicanism and Puritanism... yet. At the time, the Puritans' main purpose was not to oppose the Church of England, but to go further than it. As early as the 1570s, Puritans intervened in church matters relating to liturgy, clothing and the worship service; they also advocated the establishment of sermons at least once a week. Denouncing the episcopal regime, they argued in favor of ecclesiastical discipline. They promoted the reform or creation of high-level educational establishments, in the footstepts of other institutions in London, Oxford and Cambridge, in order to ensure the best possible training for ministers. In the 17th century, the Puritans made a series of demands. One example will suffice to illustrate the matter. In 1608, in York (Northern England), the Puritans demanded that official measures be instituted against an entire catalogue of transgressions: drunkenness, public swearing, insults, gambling, idleness, Sabbath-breaking (such as dancing and playing football), failure to attend church and sexual relations outside of wedlock. Thus the Puritan acquired the reputation of being a killjoy -- one which has stuck with him to this day. Puritan influence was one of the factors that led, if indirectly, to England's civil war of the 1640s. During the war, Puritan preachers played an important role in galvanizing the troops. Cromwell's revolution, in fact, was often referred to as the "Puritan revolution" during the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the phrase is no longer in favor among historians, for a variety of reasons. Yet it remains that Oliver Cromwell was nicknamed by some the "Puritan Moses." Later, England saw renewed attempts to re-catholicize the Kingdom. The Puritans became dissidents once again; many were forced to flee. Unable to establish the "ideal city" they envisioned in their home country, they set their sights on the New World. The landing of the Mayflower in the bay of Massachusetts, in 1620, is a foundational event in the history of the United States. In New England, whose climate reminded them of their home country's, the Puritans endeavored once again to create their famous "city upon a hill" (the phrase is a reference to Matthew 5). This city, in the Puritan mind, was to serve as an example to the world. Yet it had a real-world model itself: the city of Geneva. In the New World, Puritans took the unprecedented step of assigning ecclesiastical responsibilities to laymen, such as artisans and farmers. Thus they paved the way, quite unintentionally of course, for the right to vote, for the right to stand for election, and for democracy as it would take shape in the 18th century. The Puritans, yielding unmatched political power in the colonies, tried to create a society in which religious law and civil law were combined in a single corpus. This is technically known as theocracy. At times, they were overtaken on the left by dissidents, such as Roger Williams, who, though a rigorous Puritan, rejected the right of magistrates to intervene in matters relating to freedom of religion. The Puritans reacted swiftly to such nonconformity, buoyed by the certainty that it was their God-appointed duty to correct and punish the rebellious, by banishment if necessary. By the 18th century, Puritanism had greatly waned -- except insofar as it gave birth to the "Great Awakening." Yet Puritan principles continued to frame the religious orientation of the American colonies and were a driving force of the Revolution of 1776. Today, the American evangelical movement is an indirect descendant of 17th century Puritanism, just as the latter was an indirect descendant of Calvinism. What characterizes a Puritan? I'd like to suggest three main elements. 1) Puritans share a specific conception of human beings' relation to God. Like Calvin, Puritans emphasize the importance of God's covenant with human beings -- both collectively and on an individual level. This explains the importance for Puritans of individual conversion, which is "my" response to this covenant with God. It also explains the importance among Puritans of the social contract, whether in the political or economic sphere, which was viewed as a manifestation of the relationship between God and human beings. 2) Introspection, which was practiced day after day by the Puritan: "Are my actions in conformity, in every way, with God's will?" The Puritan was very concerned with his or her own salvation, so much so that Puritan morality has often been described as highly individualistic. An author described one 17th century Puritan as someone who "loved God with all his soul" and who, at the same time, "disliked his neighbor with all his heart." Yet at the same time, Puritans took it upon themselves to look into the affairs of others, never afraid of meddling in their neighbors' business. 3) Ecclesiastical discipline. As you'll remember, the true Church, for Calvin, can be recognized by its two distinguishing marks: a) it is where the Word of God is soundly preached, and b) it is where the sacraments are properly administered. According to American historian Robert Kingdon, the Puritans added a third criteria: for them, the true Church is also where ecclesiastical discipline reigns supreme. Calvin himself, of course, had much to say about ecclesiastical discipline. He established ecclesiastical ordinances reflecting his conception of proper discipline in the Church. Yet it was never, for him, one of the marks of the true Church in the same way as the Word and the sacraments. Within the Puritan family, on the other hand, ecclesiastical discipline was elevated to the same rank as those two marks. A quick word on the Puritan economy might be appropriate here. But since you've already learned, in an earlier sequence, about Max Weber's thesis relating the Protestant ethic to the spirit of capitalism, and the particular role played therein by Puritanism, there is really no need for us to go over it again. In conclusion: is it fair, based on what we've learned, to depict Puritanism as a kind of " Calvinism squared," as an exacerbated Calvinism of sorts? In fact, the Puritan is best interpreted as a true and loyal Calvinist who, transplanted into new and unique circumstances, attempted to preserve and, in a way, calcify this Calvinist legacy. Yet no institution -- indeed, no vision or representation of the world -- can be transposed from one century to another without the risk of becoming corrupted. The vision of the world embodied by the 16th century institutions of Calvin's Geneva proved difficult to smoothly transpose into the 17th century, much less the 18th -- not to mention, of course, the 19th and 20th centuries. We've reached the end of this sequence. Thank you for your attention.