Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Unless otherwise indicated, all Institute books are published and distributed by The University of North Carolina Press. For ordering information, call 1.800.848.6224 or fax 1.800.272.6817. Please note that these books can be purchased only through UNC Press and not through the Institute.

A Prize-Winning Book

  Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize, American Society of Church History (2011)

“Admirable for its erudition and impeccable in its scholarship, The Science of the Soul challenges the conventional wisdom that scientific modernity is the product of secularization. It compellingly shows the inextricable inter-connectedness of empiricism and faith in early British America and the Atlantic world. It is a ‘must read’ for historians of science and religion alike, as well as for all scholars of early American literature.”

--Ralph Bauer, University of Maryland

“Tracing the astonishing ways in which early empiricism and Protestant theology and conversionary practices intersected and diverged in their quest for unknowable knowledge, Rivett’s study reanimates intellectual history. Simultaneously local and global, dependent on the evidence of marginalized voices as much as elite theories, the quest for a science of the soul offers a new narrative of our own modernity.”

--Teresa Toulouse, University of Colorado

The Science of the Soul employs a strikingly novel perspective, the interpenetration of early modern science with Reformed theology and philosophy, to cast a long-familiar axial narrative of early American history in new light. Rivett challenges a historiographic age steeped in Atlanticism and critical theory to rethink the classic tale of New England Puritanism’s evolution.”

--Charles L. Cohen, University of Wisconsin