Cotton Mather als Aufklärer
Glaube und Gesellschaft im Neuengland der Frühen Neuzeit
1. Edition 2012
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Reformed Historical Theology -
This dissertation intends to situate Cotton Mather in the Early Enlightenment, to add observations concerning his reception in America and to overcome the image of him as a transitional figure. It proposes that especially the sections of his work which are only beginning to be explored show his particular theological position which consists in an enlightened redefinition of the roles of the Holy Spirit. This has repercussions for the content of his faith and his practical and historical belief. Approaching his works in a second step from the perspective of Early Modern Society, it attempts to show the limits of concepts brought to bear on this society, on him and on his works in particular such as the theories of the »errand« in the settlement of New England and its subsequent »decline« in its connection to psychohistory, social history and the history of mentalities. Given the overwhelming importance of the Salem witchcraft trials in the reception of Cotton Mather, further observations on the changing role of the pastorate, familial and societal education and the development of medical and natural sciences take their departure from their examination as an example of early modern phenomena of exclusion. Critical examination of this and other historical and literary, philosophical, sociological and theological concepts which prevented Cotton Mather from being seen as an Enlightenment figure are the main subject of this dissertation.