1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Puritanism

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PURITANISM (Lat. puritas, purity), the name given—originally perhaps in a hostile sense on the analogy of Catharism (see Cathars)—to the movement for greater strictness of life and simplicity in worship which grew up in the Church of England in the 16th century among those who thought that there had not been a sufficient divergence from the Roman Church, and which ultimately led to the rise of a number of separatist denominations. Thomas Fuller (Church History) traces the earliest use of the term “Puritan” to 1564. The terms “Precisian,” “Puritan,” “Presbyterian,” were all used by Archbishop Parker in his letters about this time as nicknames for the same party, and ten years later the name was in common use.

See England, Church of; Congregationalism; Presbyterianism, &c.; also D. Neal, History of the Puritans (ed. Toulmin, 5 vols., 1822); E. Dowden, Puritan and Anglican (1901); J. Heron, A Short History of Puritanism (1908).