The Puritan as Yankee
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"Horace Bushnell (1802-76), the much maligned 19th-century liberal pastor/scholar/ theologian, is here vindicated as a deeply conservative Puritan and misunderstood intellectual of his time. In this biography, Mullin (General Theological Seminary) considers Bushnell in the context of his time and milieu. While calling him a "flinty character," Mullin argues that Bushnell was quintessentially a Yankee and a Puritan, seeking innovation yet all the while sustained by a bedrock trust in the values and continuity of the Puritan tradition. Mullin places great emphasis on Bushnell's European travels as well as his writings (published as well as unpublished) from 1846 to early 1849, where he finds him working through his concerns for the lost unity of the Puritans. These ideas fed into Bushnell's sense that "the fractiousness of American political life was an outgrowth of the New Light piety," an evangelical piety that stressed individualism over community. Sophisticated, well informed, and c
Horace Bushnell (1802-1876) is one of the most studied figures innineteenth-century American religious history, but there has beenno major biography of him for almost fifty years. "The Puritan asYankee^ provides a much-needed -- and provocatively new -- lookat this famous American Christian thinker.^^Based on a close reading of Bushnell's writings and unpublishedsources as well as careful attention to how contemporaries saw him, Robert Bruce Mullin's book throws fresh light on its subject. Breakingfrom the long tradition of portraying Bushnell as the father ofAmerican liberal Christianity, Mullin offers a fundamentally new picture ofBushnell as a man deeply concerned with the questions of his age, and a far more interesting figure than previously thought. Bushnellemerges here as an innovator, a Yankee tinkerer in the field of religion, and a profoundly conservative figure.^^Expertly researched and enjoyable to read, this volume tells animportant chapter in American religious history.^
Mullin is professor of history and world mission and modern Anglican studies at General Theological Seminary.