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The Puritan Family Resemblance

Dr. Randall J. Pederson offers a helpful method for resolving the perennial challenge of defining Puritanism. Pederson suggests that Wittgenstein’s concept of familienähnlichkeit (family resemblance) provides a perspective “that within seventeenth-century English Puritanism there is a unitas and a diversitas that, when considered together, suggest a unitas in diversitate that warrants the use of the term ‘Puritanism,’ in the singular, and is preferable to more deconstructionist notions of Puritanisms, which would seem to undermine confessional sensibilities of most Puritans.” Dr. Pederson’s dissertation, Unity in Diversity: English Puritans and the Puritan Reformation, 1603–1689, will soon be published by Brill. A summary and title page are currently available from the University of Leiden, who will release the dissertation from embargo in May 2015. Dr. Pederson is managing editor of The Westminster Theological Journal, the co-editor of Meet the Puritans, and the editor of Daily Readings: The Puritans.

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