How should we view the Puritans, and their religious and cultural legacy? This episode explores that question with Dr. David Hall, author of The Puritans: A Transatlantic History (2019). As he explains, there was much more to these people than the stern, judgmental caricature that has followed them through the years. In fact, Hall says, when we look at how the Puritans felt about God’s presence in their lives, “the word love leaps out at us.” For Mary Baker Eddy, her Puritan heritage left a deep and abiding impression—one she both contested and valued. Learn how the Puritan concept of “spiritual sense” in the human heart connected to her vision.
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David Hall is a historian of early America and early New England in particular. He has taught at Yale University (where he earned his Ph.D.), Boston University, and Harvard Divinity School, where he is now Bartlett Professor of Religious History, emeritus. He wrote about “popular” religion in his prize-winning book Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religion in Early New England (1989); revisited the political, social, and ethical practices of the colonists in A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England (2011); and most recently published a magisterial survey of The Puritans: A Transatlantic History (2019).