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Do tenets of  'cosmic, transcendental and providential vision' of New England...

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mumroy | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:04 AM via web

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Do tenets of  'cosmic, transcendental and providential vision' of New England theological writers still linger in American culture?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 26, 2010 at 11:52 PM (Answer #1)

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What an interesting question.  I assume you're referring to the Colonial American writers, such as Bradford, as those writing about "cosmic, transcendental and providential vision."  Anything past that becomes more secular, as is the case with Thoreau and Emerson--the next most cosmic and literally Transcendental writers in America.  I'm certainly not a scholar on this particular kind of writing; however, it seems to me there are plenty of cosmic and transcendental writers still writing today.  Consider the naturalist writers, like Annie Dillard and Gene Eisely, as well as the more philosphical/spiritual writers such as James Redfield and Eckart Tolle. The difference to me is that those early writers seemed to have a clear sense that God was their source, that His laws and prinicples were, indeed, transcendant, and their very presence here in America was providential--that is, part of a God-inspired plan in which He prepared and provided for them.  To that extent, I just don't see much current writing which includes that aspect of things.  You will certainly find it in some books written about that time period (such as The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea by Peter Marshall and David Manuel).  Authors such as Newt Gingrich and other political-type writers are reminding us of the providential history of America in their historical writings (such as Gingrich's historical series including Gettysburg) and their non-fiction treatises on why America needs to get back to the tenets and principles of the Founding Fathers.  Oh, and some biographers are including those aspects in their works on the Founding Fathers and other influential men of that day.  In short, I think, the only current work containing the providential aspects of those early settlers is about the past or an invocation of the past as being the path of the future.  It lingers, there's a vestige, but it's certainly not prevalent. Again, good question.

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