M. Gail Hamner

in American Pragmatism

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195155471
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834266 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series


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A brief look is taken at the meanings of the terms ‘Puritans’, ‘Puritanism’ and ‘Puritan imagery’, giving a clarification of what they mean, and how they affect the author's reading of the pragmatists. An examination is also made of how the meaning of ‘Puritan’ changed over the course of the nineteenth century. In order to establish the cultural force of Puritan imagery, an investigation is also made of the context and means by which the American pragmatists took hold of and reinvented certain European scientific concepts. By examining the appeals to Puritanism from the Second Great Awakening to the Civil War, and from Reconstruction to the Gilded Age, it is shown how at different times and on behalf of particular causes, different stories about the history and destiny of America were inflected, in selective and specialized ways, by this or the other understandings of Puritanism.

Keywords: American pragmatism; Europe; pragmatism; Puritan imagery; Puritanism; Puritans; terminology; U.S.A

Chapter.  4839 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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