skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 119400 Find in a Library
Title: Crime and Sin in Puritan Massachusetts (From Crime, Values, and Religion, P 1-22, 1987, James M Day and William S Laufer, eds. -- See NCJ-119399)
Author(s): C A Holbrook
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Ablex Publishing Corporation
Norwood, NJ 07648
Sale Source: Ablex Publishing Corporation
355 Chestnut Street
Norwood, NJ 07648
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The analysis examines some of the ways in which the Massachusetts Puritans' religious purpose affected their ideas of law, crime, immorality, and sin.
Abstract: The Protestant tradition exemplified by Puritanism was not based on the idea of human freedom as the foundation of moral and religious life; rather, Puritans were convinced that humans were locked into an inheritance of original sin. The Puritans made a distinction between morality and piety. Sin was not simply an immoral act but rather a profound distortion in the soul of a person that no law could remedy. Although laws enacted by Puritans appeared to be oppressive, the purpose of these laws was not always punitive; reform and education were important objectives. The Puritans' view of crime versus sin is discussed, with emphasis on the controversy surrounding church and State jurisdictions. It is concluded that the Puritans' struggle with crime, immorality, and sin still characterize the legislative and judicial branches of government today. Church and State may be separate theoretically and institutionally, but religion still strives to influence public policy while the State seeks to control moral behavior by legal means. 23 references.
Main Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Massachusetts; Religion; Sociology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=119400

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.