Dissenting Bodies: Corporealities in Early New England

Kobo ebook | June 19, 2012

byMartha L. Finch

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For the Puritan separatists of seventeenth-century New England, "godliness," as manifested by the body, was the sign of election, and the body, with its material demands and metaphorical significance, became the axis upon which all colonial activity and religious meaning turned.

Drawing on literature, documents, and critical studies of embodiment as practiced in the New England colonies, Martha L. Finch launches a fascinating investigation into the scientific, theological, and cultural conceptions of corporeality at a pivotal moment in Anglo-Protestant history. Not only were settlers forced to interact bodily with native populations and other "new world" communities, they also fought starvation and illness; were whipped, branded, hanged, and murdered; sang, prayed, and preached; engaged in sexual relations; and were baptized according to their faith. All these activities shaped the colonists' understanding of their existence and the godly principles of their young society.

Finch focuses specifically on Plymouth Colony and those who endeavored to make visible what they believed to be God's divine will. Quakers, Indians, and others challenged these beliefs, and the constant struggle to survive, build cohesive communities, and regulate behavior forced further adjustments. Merging theological, medical, and other positions on corporeality with testimonies on colonial life, Finch brilliantly complicates our encounter with early Puritan New England.

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For the Puritan separatists of seventeenth-century New England, "godliness," as manifested by the body, was the sign of election, and the body, with its material demands and metaphorical significance, became the axis upon which all colonial activity and religious meaning turned.Drawing on literature, documents, and critical studies of ...

Martha L. Finch received her M.A. and Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, and her area of research is American religious history, with specializations in early New England and relig...

other books by Martha L. Finch

Religion, Food, and Eating in North America
Religion, Food, and Eating in North America

Kobo ebook|Apr 1 2014

$37.59 online$46.99list price(save 20%)
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:June 19, 2012Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231511388

ISBN - 13:9780231511384

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction: Embodying Godliness
1. Massasoit's Stool and Wituwamat's Head: Body Encounters
2. A Banquet in the Wilderness: Bodies and the Environment
3. As on a Hill: Public Bodies
4. The True and Visible Church: The Body of Christ
5. As in a Mirror: Domestic Bodies
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

[An] important new study.