On the Corporate Nature of Evangelical Literacy

The interplay of these four doctrines–sola scriptura, the priesthood of believers, preparation for grace, and sanctification–inspired a passion for preaching, writing, and reading in colonial New England. But though these doctrines involved the individual soul, the culture of evangelical literacy was nurtured in corporate institutions, including the family, the church, the town, and the colony, all of which blended public and private in a special New England way. New Englanders understood social life through the concept of covenant, a contract of mutuality and reciprocity. … The way New Englanders organized their families, communities, and institutional lives would have a profound impact on the growth of the culture of evangelical literacy.

From David Paul Nord, Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 17-18. Read the abstract in the Commonplaces Library.

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