Conversion Narratives in Old and New England

Kathleen Lynch

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Conversion Narratives in Old and New England

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This article highlights the methods and historical circumstances by and in which the very type of confessional narrative was established. It first surveys a number of conditioning factors for the codification of the Protestant conversion narrative in the mid-seventeenth century. These include the important precedent-setting conversions of St Paul and St Augustine, the Calvinist emphasis on predestination, the diaspora of religious dissent, and a rising millenarian outlook. Dispersed geographically and varied in form, the conventions of a narrated spiritual experience were rapidly codified when they became a required aspect of the rituals of membership in Independent and Congregational churches in seventeenth-century England and America.

Keywords: Protestant conversion; St Paul; St Augustine; religious conversion; predestination; Calvinism; religious dissent

Article.  7569 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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