What connections can be made between the text of The Pilgrim's Progress and the literary period?

Expert Answers

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A. Socio-Political background

1. Cromwellian Puritanism (religious freedom) ends by 1660

2. Charless II revives "Act of Conformity" (must attend Church of   England.

B. Bunyan background

1. At age 19 married Margaret Bentley, who convinced him to attend church.

2. Had nightmares/dreams of demons; due to his minister's sermons on damnation

3. "Agonized conscience of Calvinism" led him guilt/despair and finally to conversion out of fear.

4.  Converted to Baptist Church of Bedford; preached

5.  Had 4 children; Margaret died; remarried Elizabeth (until death)

6. Refused to attend State church or stop preaching; arrested; imprisoned for 12 years as duty to God.

7. Anguished in parting from children (one was blind).  In agony he cried: "But I must do it!  I must do it!  I must venture my children with God!"

8. Wife suffered; blind daughter Mary sickened and died.

9. Began "Pilgrim's Progress" in prison, was released, and finished it in prison.

10. Became pastor of Bedford separatist church; had scattered congregation.

11. Published "Pilgrim's Progress"1678; instant success

12. Died in 1688 when religious persecution was ending.

C.  Religious background

1. Radical separatist groups in Anglican church emerged, among them the

Baptists (est. 1611)

2. Some believed "baptism" should be for only convinced believers

a. Shortly after being conversion

b. Necessary to get to heaven (Bunyan disagreed)

3. General Baptists believed Christ died for everyone, not a select few

4.  Particular Baptists believed only a select group would be saved.

5. Early Baptist theology is Calvinism

6. Baptist beliefs:

a. Bible alone is guide to faith

b. Baptism by only believers as profession of faith

c. Only convinced Christians should belong to Church

d. Each member has equal say in running church; no priestly authority

e. Each local church is autonomous

f.  Church and state are separate to guarantee freedom of belief.

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