Making Heretics is a major new narrative of the famous Massachusetts disputes of the late 1630s misleadingly labeled the "antinomian controversy" by later historians. Drawing on an unprecedented range of sources, Michael Winship fundamentally recasts these interlocked religious and political struggles as a complex ongoing interaction of personalities and personal agendas and as a succession of short-term events with cumulative results.
Previously neglected figures like Sir Henry Vane and John Wheelwright assume leading roles in the processes that nearly ended Massachusetts, while more familiar "hot Protestants" like John Cotton and Anne Hutchinson are relocated in larger frameworks. The book features a striking portrayal of the minister Thomas Shepard as an angry heresy-hunting militant, helping to set the volatile terms on which the disputes were conducted and keeping the flames of contention stoked even as he ostensibly attempted to quell them.
The first book-length treatment in forty years, Making Heretics locates its story in rich contexts, ranging from ministerial quarrels and negotiations over fine but bitterly contested theological points to the shadowy worlds of orthodox and unorthodox lay piety, and from the transatlantic struggles over the Massachusetts Bay Company's charter to the fraught apocalyptic geopolitics of the Reformation itself. An object study in the ways that puritanism generated, managed, and failed to manage diversity, Making Heretics carries its account on into England in the 1640s and 1650s and helps explain the differing fortunes of puritanism in the Old and New Worlds.
"A major and refreshingly original study. . . . A remarkable portrait of how Puritanism generated and attempted and finally failed to control divergence from orthodoxy."--Iain S. Maclean, James Madison University, Religious Studies Review
"A fresh account of the famous battle between the conservative and moderate leaders of the first generation of New England Puritanism . . . and more radical proponents of free grace . . . [a] highly readable book."--Amanda Porterfield, University of Wyoming, Catholic Historical Review
"Will stand as the most complete and authoritative account for many years to come . . . a page turner . . . a truly impressive contribution."--Evan Haefeli, Tufts University, Reviews in American History
"Moves with clarity and ease through extremely complex theological and political issues, and the narrative reconstruction of the controversy is very convincing . . . a must-read."--Mark A. Peterson, University of Iowa, American Historical Review
"No one . . . will be able to rest comfortable with received generalizations after reading this important volume."--Stephen J. Stein, Indiana University, Journal of American History
"Truism after truism falters before his gaze . . . carefully grounded in the sources."--David D. Hall, Harvard University, Harvard Theological Review
"A fresh account of the famous battle between the conservative and moderate leaders of the first generation of New England Puritanism . . . and more radical proponents of free grace. . . . [A] highly readable book."--Amanda Porterfield, University of Wyoming, Catholic Historical Review
"Will stand as the most complete and authoritative account for many years to come. . . . [A] page turner. . . . [A] truly impressive contribution."--Evan Haefeli, Tufts University, Reviews in American History
Table of Contents:
CHAPTER ONE: Assurance of Salvation in the Early Seventeenth Century 12
CHAPTER TWO: Lively Stones: John Cotton and Anne Hutchinson 28
CHAPTER THREE: The Most Glorious Church in the World: Boston, c. 1636 44
CHAPTER FOUR: Practicing Puritanism in a Strange Land: Massachusetts, c. 1636 64
CHAPTER FIVE: Secret Quarrels Turn Public: Summer 1636-January 1637 83
CHAPTER SIX: Convicting John Wheelwright: January-March 1637 106
CHAPTER SEVEN: Abimelech's Faction: March-August 1637 126
CHAPTER EIGHT: Reclaiming Cotton: August-September 1637 149
CHAPTER NINE: The November Trials: October-November 1637 166
CHAPTER TEN: An American Jezebel: November 1637-March 1638 188
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Holding Forth Darkly: March 1638-February 1641 211
CHAPTER TWELVE: Godly Endings 235