The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2149 Wednesday, 22 November 2000.
From: Don Bloom <
Date: Tuesday, 21 Nov 2000 11:27:56 -0600
Subject: 11.2140 Re: British "strangers"
Comment: Re: SHK 11.2140 Re: British "strangers"
Marcus's pat historian is certainly a model of glib simplification, but
why is he so coy about letting us know who the person is responsible for
it? That is, was the writer a real historian who ought to have known
better? Or, much more likely, some kind popularizer who assembled the
pat cliches in a readable form to present as history without ever
knowing how superficial and inaccurate they were?
As to Stephanie's question about "Saints and Strangers," probably some
one else could explain this in more depth, but Saint was a technical
term used by the English Calvinists to refer to those of their number
who had undergone an intense conversion experience in which they
realized their position as being among the Elect and began endeavoring
to lead a sinless life. Of course, they couldn't, and while they knew
that their sins were covered by Christ's Redemptive Sacrifice, they
feared that recurrent sinfulness indicated that they were not among the
Elect after all. Their concern, to the point of paranoia in some cases,
can be read in any number of diaries, but most easily seen in the work
of John Bunyan, who was prone to fits of intense depression -- the
Despair from whose dungeon you can walk right out again as soon as you
remember (and believe) that you are saved.
Stranger was, I believe, a nonce use applicable to the time of the
founding of the Plymouth Colony. It meant non-Saint, or perhaps
non-Calvinist, and I leave it to Ms. Hughes to interpret why they picked
that word (what else would do?) to refer to that group in the midst of
their communion of Saints.
(Incidentally, I once was associated with a Congregational (now UCC)
Church where the adult group was called "Saints and Strangers." Somebody
with a real sense of humor must have been present at its founding.)