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Mar 8, 2016

As Protestantism entered the modern world its biblical spirituality, on the one hand, inspired a puritan mission to restore the world to its paradisal integrity through trade and science, and yet on the other hand promoted an increasingly adversarial stance towards the world of politics and institutional religion. Either way, the biblical text appeared to be historical narrative with one literal sense, which mediated the divine action of a time gone by, so as to demand obedient correspondent action from God's present day covenanted partners, free from the bounds of socio-political structure as much as they could be. How did the interpretation of the Bible change in the course of the seventeenth century? How was it used to promote notions of political authority? And what relevance does this history of exegesis have for modern-day intellectual history scholarship? In this paper, Mark Elliott answers these and other questions.