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How did the Puritan community featured in the link below define and seek to control...

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ferretman161 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM via web

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How did the Puritan community featured in the link below define and seek to control sin?

http://www.raleighcharterhs.org/faculty/bnewmark/AP%20History/SuffolkCountyCourtPuritancases.htm

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM (Answer #1)

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The Puritan community highlighted defines sin through the lens of spiritual exceptionalism.  In this notion, the belief is that the Puritan community "was chosen" to embody the very pinnacle of spiritual excellence and adherence to a strict code of ethical and moral conduct as defined in the Bible.  It is for this reason that many of the crimes and charges in the document relate to violation of a behavioral code of ethics that breaks from this exceptionalist notion of the good.  Whether it is Robert Marshall being accused as an "atheist" or Margaret Murphey for being "a drunk" or Elizabeth Arnold for "cursing and lewd language" or Johathan Adams for "absenting church on the Sabbath" it is evident that the Puritan community in question defined sin as breaking from a strict code of moral and ethical conduct that socially agreed upon moves away from an "exceptionalist" vision.  The means of regulating this behavior was the use of the judicial system or court magistrates to make a public example that this kind of spiritual behavior, which we would now see as worst as "lapses in judgment," was punished in a public setting.  It is here where the Puritanical court system sought to use the public forum to redress private behavior, collapsing both realms into one domain in which exceptionalism was the accepted and demonstrative norm of redressing and regulating the specific behavior.

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