Unity in Diversity

English Puritans and the Puritan Reformation, 1603-1689


Unity in Diversity presents a fresh appraisal of the vibrant and diverse culture of Stuart Puritanism, provides a historiographical and historical survey of current issues within Puritanism, critiques notions of Puritanisms, which tend to fragment the phenomenon, and introduces unitas within diversitas within three divergent Puritans, John Downame, Francis Rous, and Tobias Crisp. This study draws on insights from these three figures to propose that seventeenth-century English Puritanism should be thought of both in terms of Familienähnlichkeit, in which there are strong theological and social semblances across Puritans of divergent persuasions, and in terms of the greater narrative of the Puritan Reformation, which united Puritans in their quest to reform their church and society.

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Randall J. Pederson, Ph.D. (2013) in History of Christianity, Leiden University, is Research Fellow at the Jonathan Edwards Centre at University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, and author of numerous articles and reviews on English Puritanism and the Post-Reformation.
"(...) even though it clearly remains somewhat challenging to define the exact parameters of Puritanism, the great profit of Pederson’s study for future research is that in the final analysis it provides us with a very useful tool to differentiate within this early modern English movement, while at the same time affirming its common ground."

Reinier W. de Koeijer, Protestant Church Bilthoven

"Pederson has done a capable job of reviewing the literature on the question of what defines puritanism and whether such a category should exist at all. He has offered us an impressive command of the field of Puritan studies (...)."

Glen Moots, Northwood University

"Pederson's monograph makes a significant contribution to the vexed issue of delineating 'Puritanism. ... As a heuristic tool, Unity in diversity offers a versatile approach for both intensive studies of individual Puritans and the expansive narratives that comprise Puritanism."

Andrew Ollerton, University of Leicester

"This book represents an interesting and provocative approach to a historiographical question that continues to be of central importance to those
working on seventeenth-century religion. That it also provides excellent studies of underexamined figures such as Rous and Crisp only adds to its value."

Andrew Crome, University of Manchester
All interested in the history and theology of English Puritanism, and anyone concerned with the difficult issue of defining Puritanism.