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date: 25 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article highlights the methods and historical circumstances by and in which the very type of confessional narrative was established. It first surveys a number of conditioning factors for the codification of the Protestant conversion narrative in the mid-seventeenth century. These include the important precedent-setting conversions of St Paul and St Augustine, the Calvinist emphasis on predestination, the diaspora of religious dissent, and a rising millenarian outlook. Dispersed geographically and varied in form, the conventions of a narrated spiritual experience were rapidly codified when they became a required aspect of the rituals of membership in Independent and Congregational churches in seventeenth-century England and America.

Keywords: Protestant conversion, St Paul, St Augustine, religious conversion, predestination, Calvinism, religious dissent

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