David D. Hall (Harvard Divinity School): “Charitable Hatred? The Civil State and Liberty of Conscience in Early America”

in Uncategorized
October 20th, 2010

England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was, as a British historian has recently noted, “mostly a persecuting society,” justifying state imposed uniformity as, to quote another British historian, a gesture of “charitable hatred”: to be held within the boundaries of uniformity and orthodoxy was presumably good for the soul. Yet this system was rife with contradictions; and on the New England side, where the customary story is also one of suppression and uniformity, these contradictions are unusually visible.

David Hall, Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History (Harvard Divinity School), is a cultural historian whose teaching interests span the entirety of American history. Since the mid-1980s, his research interests have included rethinking religion and culture in terms of “practice” (see, e.g, Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice [1997]); the history of cultural criticism and the idea of culture in nineteenth-century America; and reconsidering the religious history of early New England from the standpoint of popular religion (see, e.g., Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment [1989]).

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