In the book “The Times and Trials of Anne Hutchinson: Puritans Divided,” written by Michael P. Winship, writes about a woman named Anne Hutchinson, born in Alfrod, New England on 20 July 1591. She was a Puritan religious leader and mid wife of twelve children, who was put under trial by John Winthrop and later banished from the society because she challenged the traditional role of a woman in Puritan society by expressing her own religious convictions. She was famous for her role in the antinomian controversy in Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hutchinson criticized the colony ministers, accusing ministers for preaching “a covenant of work” as opposed to “the covenant of grace.”
After Hutchinson getting married, she and her husband William Hutchinson moved to Massachusetts Colony on 1633 to seek religious freedom, where she was put on trial for expressing her religious thoughts. As the author highlights how the church saw crime of her organizing meeting in her home, where women discussed Scriptures, prayed and reviewed sermons of John Cotton and hear her explanation of her personal views. The meetings of women became so popular that she had to organize meetings for men as well. During the meetings, Hutchinson criticized the colony’s ministers, accusing them of preaching “a covenant of works” as opposed to “the covenant of grace” espoused by Reverend Cotton. Hutchinson main cause of dragging herself into trouble in having meetings with men, which was considered forbidden under Puritan trial and her women’s club meetings were a threat to the authority of the men in power and against the fundamental ideals of the Puritan way of life. Her gathering was unorthodox by some of the colony’s ministers, and differing religious opinions within the colony eventually became public debates. During her trial, she also cited “clear rule in Titus, that the elder woman should instruct the younger,” Within a week of her sentencing, she was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for these charges and later she was killed by Native Americans.
Anne Hutchinson controversy was based more on theological issue than political. The author exemplifies in the book that Anne, who studied theology from his father and, she was greatly attracted to the Cotton’s theology of “the Covenant of grace,” as the sole means and evidence of salvation, however, brought the Puritan women equality to the most important aspect of their lives: their afterlife where they would be reunited with God. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans religious community in New England. Anne also faced political struggles, where she challenged the authorities of the minister, and Winthrop felt “her principals are causing of all the trouble and they would now be considered to be done with her.”
In conclusion, Anne Hutchinson demonstrates how women were perceived in society, and that Puritan society was contradictory in its beliefs regarding women. She was a remarkable woman, who conducted meeting for women to learn more about themselves and make religion meaningful in their life. The gender was the biggest issue during the colonial times, because she was a women who tried to express her thoughts to the people was considered unlawful and hence she was convicted and banished from the colony.
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