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Heavenly Merchandize:
How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America
Mark Valeri

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"This book will certainly change the way both Puritan theology and economics are viewed and is highly recommended."--Suzanne Geissler, Anglican and Episcopal History

"An important study. . . . [T]his stellar work breaks important new ground on the complex drama of economics and religion in early modern America."--Robert E. Brown, Religious Studies Review


"Heavenly Merchandize is a compelling original exploration of moral conviction and commercial culture in early New England. Boldly challenging the view that the demise of piety was a condition for the rise of opportunistic market behavior, Valeri finds that New England's ministers and merchants were neither traditionalists eclipsed by a secularizing Atlantic world nor easy protocapitalists rushing into modernity. He discloses a commercial community that was intent upon righteous trading and pious living."--Cathy Matson, University of Delaware

"Heavenly Merchandize is a magisterial account of the interplay of economics and religion in early America. In place of abstract theories of 'modernization' or 'the spirit of capitalism,' Valeri engages representative figures on the ground, and through their stories narrates the ways in which transformations in religious thought actually shaped a premodern market culture. Students of early American religion, economics, and imperialism will have to consult this seminal work."--Harry S. Stout, Yale University

"Heavenly Merchandize treats the interconnected transformations of theology and the market in New England from earliest settlement in the 1620s to the mid-eighteenth century. The brilliance of Valeri's presentation is that he grounds it in the biographies and extensive testimonies of Boston merchants. In thoroughness, depth, scope, and significance, I rank this among a very elite group of truly seminal books."--Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"An important and powerfully argued narrative. This work is large in scope and ambition. It assesses more than a century of change in the complex relationship between religious beliefs, practices, and disciplinary standards and the evolution of commercial and market behavior in colonial New England. Valeri takes his subject head-on and in full, knowing the pitfalls and the controversies that lie along the path."--Mark Peterson, University of California, Berkeley

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File created: 4/21/2017

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