Book cover for Opening of the Protestant Mind

The Opening of the Protestant Mind

Mark Valeri
In conversation with Mark Peterson

Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at 7:00 pm ET

Approximately 60 minutes. This hybrid program will be held in person at Antiquarian Hall and livestreamed to a virtual audience on YouTube. Advance registration is required for both. Doors open at 6:30pm.

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During the century from 1650 through 1760, a shift occurred in English descriptions of world religions, reflecting new and transformative ideas of religious freedom and tolerance. In this talk, historian Mark Valeri shows how Protestant views of other religions changed in the mid-eighteenth century from unabated criticism to praise for the moral mindsets of many Native Americans, the learning within many Islamic sects, and the kindness of many Roman Catholics. In New England, such changes affected Anglo-Protestants’ interactions—in trade, military affairs, and missionary encounters—with Native Americans. In his presentation, Valeri draws on his new book, The Opening of the Protestant Mind (Oxford University Press, 2023).


Mark ValeriA historian of religion in early America, Mark Valeri is the Reverend Priscilla Wood Neaves Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics and Professor of History (courtesy) at Washington University in St. Louis. His Ph.D. is from Princeton University, and he has held long-term fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society and the Huntington Library. He is the author of Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America (Princeton University Press) and of The Opening of the Protestant Mind: How Anglo-American Protestants Embraced Religious Liberty (Oxford University Press). Valeri was a National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellow in 1989-90 and an American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Fellow in 1998-99. He was elected to AAS membership in October 1998.

Mark Peterson is the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of History at Yale University, where he teaches courses on colonial and Revolutionary America. Prior to that, he was chair of the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University and is the author of The Price of Redemption: The Spiritual Economy of Puritan New England (1997). He is currently working on a new book, The Long Crisis of the Constitution, for Princeton University Press.

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