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Puritanism

Oates, R (2017) Puritanism. In: Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy. Encyclopedia of Renaissance History . Springer, Germany. ISBN 978-3-319-02848-4

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Abstract

Puritanism was a strain of English Protestantism that emerged after the re-establishment of the Protestant Church of England by Elizabeth I in 1559. Puritanism was not a coherent set of ideas, but rather a form of intense piety that led many to criticise the Church of England for not being as Reformed as Calvinist Churches on the continent. As such, Puritans and Puritanism changed in light of changing religious and political dynamics in Early Modern England, becoming an increasingly political force under Charles I and leading to the English Civil Wars. Different Puritans promoted different models of a spiritual society in order to realise their ideals including conforming to the established Church; Presbyterianism; or Separation and exile to America. What was constant, however, was a commitment to personal spiritual growth that produced an influential genre of writing on practical divinity.

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