History of Plymouth Plantation Questions and Answers
by William Bradford

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Define typology to the Puritans. How does typology inform the work of Puritan authors? What examples illustrate this?

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Theological typology is a school of Biblical interpretation concerned with the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament. According to typology, the Old Testament serves as an introduction of types which were to be realized by the New Testament antitypes, consisting of the actions of Jesus. For example, the sacrifice of Isaac in the Old Testament that was the type reflected in the antitype of Jesus' sacrificial crucifixion. The emergence or "rebirth" of Jonas from the belly of the whale was the Old Testament type reflected in the antitype of the resurrection of Jesus.

While typology as a philosophy long pre-dated the Puritanical movement, typology was particularly important to the Puritans in two ways. Individually, Puritans were able to rationalize their own experiences by recognizing them as being further realizations of the Old Testament types.Their personal struggles could be better understood by analysis of the struggles of Moses, Job, or Jonas. Communally, this form of interpretation provided the Puritans with a sense of cohesion and purpose as they viewed their society as the realization of the type of a "New Israel." These interpretations are reflected in the written Puritanical works as it provides a set of circumstances, the Old Testament types, that are to be realized again and again by the actors of the contemporary world.

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