Monthly Archives: October 2015

Puritans with Sympathy?

When most Americans think about the Puritans–when they think about them at all–it’s usually to dismiss them as stern, hard-hearted folks–the kind of people who enjoyed plastering Hester Prynne with a “Scarlet Letter.”

One of the burdens of my US History classes is to chip away at this stigma. The Puritans took things seriously–it’s true–because life is serious business. But that didn’t keep them from loving whole-heartedly and feeling deeply.

We have more evidence of this in a recent book by Abram Van Engen called Sympathetic Puritans. Van Engen’s book is all about how Puritans valued sympathy, understood as care and even imaginative identification with others.

I wrote a longer review of the book in my monthly piece for the Religion in American History Blog.

Check it out!

Van Engen Cover

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Historical Fan Art

Before this semester is too far gone, I wanted to share a piece of Student Fan Art that a student produced last spring.

It envisions the History faculty at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul as Comic Book heroes, “The Doctors.”

That would be historian of Russia Matthew Miller as “The Czar.” Historian of Ancient and Medieval History Clyde Billington (now retired) shows up as “The Knight.” Our Egyptian specialist Charles Aling is “The Pharaoh.” And yes, yours truly is a Captain-America inspired “The General.”

One can only imagine what types of adventures these heroes will embark upon, but I can guess they will be to slay historical ignorance and help set the world aright.

Thanks, Ben W., for your creativity!

The Doctors2

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