Hello! Historically Thinking today returns from a summer break (or, to be precise, Al Zambone does). Recording far from the Augustana College campus and the studio of WAUG, in a pirate-radio bootleg setup of sorts, we bring you a thrill-ride of a summer blockbuster devoted to…a colonial New England theologian you’ve never heard of. Probably ever. Unless you’re weird. Or over-educated.
Cotton Mather (1663-1728) was a Boston preacher who was the son of a Boston preacher and the grandson of a Boston preacher. He lived all of his life pretty much in Boston’s North End. Yet that life was lived amongst momentous cultural, political, and religious transitions, many of which Mather pushed along for all he was worth in innumerable sermons and writings. (Cotton Mather, you see, had very few unwritten thoughts.)
This week we have a conversation with Rick Kennedy, Professor of History at Point Loma Nazarene College, and author of the recently published The First American Evangelical: A Short Life of Cotton Mather. This conversation is focused on the big events of Mather’s life, most of which (like the Halfway Covenant and the Smallpox inoculation controversy) normal haven’t heard of, and one of which (the Salem Witch Trials) they certainly have. Next week we’ll be talking about the difference between Puritanism and Evangelicalism, and how Cotton Mather was or was not a part of the Enlightenment. See you then!