By Andrea Knutson
This research examines how the idea that of conversion and the legacy of the doctrine of guidance, as articulated in Puritan Reformed theology and transplanted to the Massachusetts Bay colony, remained an essential cultural strength shaping advancements in American literature, theology, and in philosophy within the type of pragmatism.
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Extra info for American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James
As Miller shows, logic originates in the Bible wherein God transcribed the divine order, and then “the laws of God found in the Bible were hypostatized by the logic of Ramus into never-failing realities, as endurable as facts” (NEM, 148). Therefore, when a saint uses the method of logic, the thinking process mirrors or reenacts the divine order as it is set down in the Bible and found in the universe. Technologia, a method based on logic for discerning truth in the natural cosmos, described the theory and practice behind what a saint could know about the world and how a saint knew it.
It must for that is the nature of the covenant, and yet doctrine maintained that man is wholly passive, that a saint is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. ”54 The conceptual line that distinguishes the saints’ active or passive roles in conversion becomes problematic when the moment arrives and they feel a movement toward Christ. The saints had to distinguish whether the movement was caused by the Holy Spirit or by their own faculties and sense of self-preservation, and Shepard’s saints understood that their limited perception, a consequence of the Fall, prevented certainty about the cause.
As essentially narrative reconstructions of the movement of the will toward truth, the confessions present the workings of consciousness as each saint moves through experience. Therefore, the tacit descriptions of the will’s operations characterize it as a kind of nerve that registers such dynamics of consciousness as the tensions between codified knowledge and indeterminate or vague truth, certainty and uncertainty, or objects encountered in experience and the perception of those objects. Because the will acts like a conductive channel connecting the saints’ souls to God and his universe, it serves as the main trope around which they organize their descriptions of how they interpret the dynamics of consciousness.
American spaces of conversion : the conductive imaginaries of Edwards, Emerson, and James by Andrea Knutson