Power and the Pulpit in Puritan New England
Edward Elliott


For years, scholars have attempted to understand the powerful hold that the sermon had upon the imagination of New England Puritans. In this book Emory Elliott puts forth a complex and striking thesis: that Puritan religious literature provided the myths and metaphors that helped the people to express their deepest doubts and fears, feelings created by their particular cultural situation and aroused by the crucial social events of seventeenth-century America.

In his early chapters, the author defines the psychological needs of the second- and third-generation Puritans, arguing that these needs arose from the generational conflict between the founders and their children and from the methods of child rearing and religious education employed in Puritan New England. In the later chapters, he reveals how the ministers responded to the crisis in their society by reshaping theology and constructing in their sermons a religious language that helped to fulfill the most urgent psychological needs of the people.

First published in 1975.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.