A Cotton Mather Reader

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Cotton Mather; Edited and with an Introduction by Reiner Smolinski and Kenneth P. Minkema

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An authoritative selection of the writings of one of the most important early American writers
 
“A brilliant collection that reveals the extraordinary range of Cotton Mather’s interests and contributions—by far the best introduction to the mind of the Puritan divine.”—Francis J. Bremer, author of Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism
 
Cotton Mather (1663–1728) has a wide presence in American culture, and longtime scholarly interest in him is increasing as more of his previously unpublished writings are made available. This reader serves as an introduction to the man and to his huge body of published and unpublished works.
 

Reiner Smolinski is professor of English at Georgia State University and general editor of Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana. Kenneth P. Minkema is editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards and director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University.

"With its magisterial grasp of previous Mather scholarship and its mastery of Mather’s published and unpublished writings (a huge feat in itself), this reader marks the culmination of Mather’s intellectual and academic rehabilitation.”—Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame

A Cotton Mather Reader is a remarkable achievement. In 300 pages, the editors capture this most prolific author whole, offering a complete and rounded portrait of a man too-often depicted as two-dimensional, the caricatured ‘witch hunter’ of Salem. Instead, we see Mather as the sophisticated intellectual, preacher, public figure, and family man that he was, engaged in every aspect of a complex and changing colonial world—politics, economics, race relations, medicine, science, international relations, and biblical interpretation. Mather’s life embodied the contradictions and tensions of the society he lived in and helped to shape, as any reader of this marvelous collection will see.”—Mark Petersen, author of The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865

"A brilliant collection that reveals the extraordinary range of Cotton Mather's interests and contributions—by far the best introduction to the mind of the Puritan divine.”—Francis J. Bremer, author of Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism

“For most of American history, Cotton Mather has been more despised than studied, more ridiculed than read. Although he was, as the editors of this outstanding volume write, "the foremost scholar and innovative thinker of his generation in New England," many Americans only remember Mather as an intolerant and self-righteous Puritan who participated in the Salem witchcraft trials. But there was much more to Mather. He was ahead of his time in many ways, and was involved in virtually every movement and issue of his time. The thousands of pages he wrote spanned a wide range of topics, from religion and politics to slavery, medicine, and economics. With selections from Mather's writings and illuminating introductions to Mather, his most important works, and his time, this book is a reader into Mather's world, making his life and thought accessible like never before.”—James P. Byrd, Vanderbilt Divinity School

“This anthology situates Mather as a cosmopolitan writer and effective pastor, bringing us much closer to the real person.”—David D. Hall, Harvard Divinity School

"For too long Cotton Mather has languished in the shadow of his fellow colonial theologian Jonathan Edwards. Now, thanks to this prodigious volume, that scholarly imbalance has been definitively addressed. This meticulously researched and documented collection of Mather’s major writings provides a comprehensive overview of early America’s most prolific author. These selections reveal a linguistic genius fluent in seven languages and remarkably informed over a variety of subjects spanning theology, witchcraft, foreign missions, medicine, slavery, and Native American ethnography. This volume offers an indispensable tool for unlocking the full spectrum of early American thought and practice and represents an essential addition to any early American library."—Harry Stout, Yale University
ISBN: 9780300260182
Publication Date: July 12, 2022
432 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
6 b/w illus.
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