Dry Bones and Indian Sermons: Praying Indians in Colonial America by Kristina BrossDry Bones and Indian Sermons: Praying Indians in Colonial America by Kristina Bross

Dry Bones and Indian Sermons: Praying Indians in Colonial America

byKristina Bross

Paperback | March 4, 2004

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Native converts to Christianity, dubbed "praying Indians" by seventeenth-century English missionaries, have long been imagined as benign cultural intermediaries between English settlers and "savages." More recently, praying Indians have been dismissed as virtual inventions of the colonists: "good" Indians used to justify mistreatment of "bad" ones. In a new consideration of this religious encounter, Kristina Bross argues that colonists used depictions of praying Indians to create a vitally important role for themselves as messengers on an evangelical "errand into the wilderness" that promised divine significance not only for the colonists who had embarked on the errand, but also for their metropolitan sponsors in London.

In Dry Bones and Indian Sermons, Bross traces the response to events such as the English civil wars and Restoration, New England's Antinomian Controversy, and "King Philip's" war. Whatever the figure's significance to English settlers, praying Indians such as Waban and Samuel Ponampam used their Christian identity to push for status and meaning in the colonial order. Through her focused attention to early evangelical literature and to that literature's historical and cultural contexts, Bross demonstrates how the people who inhabited, manipulated, and consumed the praying Indian identity found ways to use it for their own, disparate purposes.

Title:Dry Bones and Indian Sermons: Praying Indians in Colonial AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.27 inPublished:March 4, 2004Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801489385

ISBN - 13:9780801489389

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Editorial Reviews

"Kristina Bross takes a thoroughly Atlantic approach to her subject, and thus places her work at the forefront of the developing field of early American studies. Her demonstration that leaders on either side of the Atlantic were extremely well-informed about developments and controversies on the other indicates the degree to which the ocean was an information highway as well as a barrier. Bross argues convincingly that Indians and their concerns were at the center of this communication network and demonstrates how high the stakes were for those who sponsored missions."—Karen Ordahl Kupperman, New York University