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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
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