With Selma’s questions gnawing away at his historical curiosity, Manny gulps down his third cup of Douwe Egbert’s Premium roast blend of coffee, excuses himself from the breakfast table and makes a bee-line for the American Pilgrims Museum.
After another day spent digging and reading, Manny came back with a whole bunch of stuff he thought might help Selma’s dissertation.
“I didn’t find much on witch burning or ostracizing, but I found out that these people were called puritans because they were trying to purify the Church of England.”
“Big surprise, right?”
“Well, the Catholic system, even in English still had all the ritual, dogma and idolatry of Rome. The Archbishop of Canterbury just replaced the Pope so Henry could divorce Catherine of Aragon.”
“Oh yes, I remember something like that from history class.
“Like all of the reformers before them, the Separatists/Puritans believed that by reading the scriptures in the vernacular, they would get back to basics, find the fundamental truth and meaning of Christianity. They thought they were finding a more authentic version of what the almighty had in mind in the first place.”
“Unfortunately, looking for a fundamental truth in a pile of discarded dogma is like looking for a pearl of wisdom in a pile of religious refuse.”
“I wish I could have made that connection when I was digging through the letters, wills and other collections of puritan stuff today.”
Letting that sink in, Manny plowed ahead.
“I wrote down a bunch of stuff that I thought you might be able to use. I’ll leave it here on the night stand.”
Selma had spent the day in the stacks at the Library reading and taking detailed notes and references to document her research for the dissertation.
Manny’s excited telling of Puritan history had yet to collide with the writing and thinking of Spinoza.