Call for papers for panel at Society of Early Americanists Conference
Providence, Rhode Island, 10-12 April 2003
Letter and Spirit in Early America
Many early American writers struggled with the relationship between letter and spirit. From the assertion in Corinthians that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" to George Fox's declaration that "none can understand [the writings of the prophets and apostles] without the same Spirit by which they were written," the vexed relationship between letter and spirit challenged early Americans as readers and as writers to reconcile the disparity between divine and human articulation and to justify their own provisional endeavors. This panel will explore the various forms those efforts took. Papers might address strategies of reading or writing such as the mandates of sola scriptura, the aspirations of inspired speech and the problem of revelation, the vindication of human reason, and/or broader implications of the letter/spirit distinction for early American theories of writing, reading, and interpretation. Though the distinction was of particular interest to radical protestant readers and writers, we welcome papers that address writers or issues from a variety of religious and secular approaches.
Conference presenters must be/become members of SEA. Please submit brief abstracts to panel organizers via electronic or regular mail by September 15th.
Dept. of English
2225 Rolfe Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1530
Dept. of English
NY, NY 10027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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