A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies

Paperback | February 15, 2002

byRandall Balmer

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Examining the interaction of the Dutch and the English in colonial New York and New Jersey, this study charts the decline of European culture in North America. Balmer argues that the combination of political intrigue, English cultural imperialism, and internal socio-economic tensionseventually drove the Dutch away from their hereditary customs, language, and culture. He shows how this process, which played itself out most visibly and poignantly in the Dutch Reformed Church between 1664 and the American Revolution, illustrates the difficulty of maintaining non-English culturesand institutions in an increasingly English world. A Perfect Babel of Confusion redresses some of the historiographical neglect of the Middle Colonies and, in the process, sheds new light on Dutch colonial culture.

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Examining the interaction of the Dutch and the English in colonial New York and New Jersey, this study charts the decline of European culture in North America. Balmer argues that the combination of political intrigue, English cultural imperialism, and internal socio-economic tensionseventually drove the Dutch away from their hereditary...

Randall Balmer is at Barnard College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.99 × 5.51 × 0.91 inPublished:February 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195152654

ISBN - 13:9780195152654

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"Randall Balmer is an excellent story teller....This is an important skill for anyone writing about religion in the Middle Colonies for confusion was abundant in this region. The real contribution of this book is the clarity with which it traces a path through this confusion, making thisparticular tributary of the American religious experience more accessible than it has been before....Balmer has articulated this story with more finesse than any of his predecessors and he has deftly woven social analysis into the text along with concern for the socio-economic status of the actorsin this drama....Balmer's book fills an important niche in contemporary scholarship dealing with the Middle Colonies....An important source for the comparative study of immigrant religion. The cleanness of the book's thesis and the readibility of Balmer's style will make it an excellent introductorytext, while the bibliography will serve as a valuable guide for more advanced study."--Church History