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Hanging Between Heaven and Earth
Capital Crime, Execution preaching, and Theology in Early New England
Scott D. Seay
“Admirably well-organized and clearly written. [Seay] demonstrates a superb grasp of the history of preaching and criminal justice and the cultural history of colonial New England.”—W. Clark Gilpin, University of Chicago Divinity School
“Seay’s book will complement and complete previous scholarship … it joins several fine books that are together creating a new school of thinking about early American religious history.”—Philip Goff, Director, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
One of the most ritualized spectacles of colonial and early national New England, public execution was intended to warn of the wages of sin, reconcile the convict to both God and the community, and demonstrate the cooperative authority of church and state. The clergy played a central role in the ritual itself and provided one of the primary explications of it: the execution sermon. In his in-depth study, Seay analyzes just over 100 such sermons preached and published in colonial and early national New England.
(2009) 230 pp.
Scott D. Seay is Assistant Professor of Church History at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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