Talk:Antinomian Controversy

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Two dissenters, or three?[edit]

The text describing Anne Hutchinson's trial right now asserts that "When a vote was taken on a sentence of banishment, only the two deputies from Boston, Colburn and Coddington, dissented." But our article on John Coggeshall asserts that he is one of three dissenting votes -- that fact is cited there, and I've seen the same claim made in a family history of the Coggeshall family (behind a paywall at Do we have any reason to think that Coggeshall wasn't a dissenting vote? Or was his vote accidentally left out of our account? Given how well-documented this article is in general, I'm happy to hold off until I can get a second opinion from someone better equipped than I am to know the ins and outs of this. Jwrosenzweig (talk) 06:41, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Hello; as I recall this quote was taken right out of one of Winship's accounts. My gut feeling is that Coggeshall may have already been removed from the ability to vote, leaving Boston with only two voting members. However, when I have a moment, I'll go back and re-read the details and give you a more succinct reply.Sarnold17 (talk) 10:17, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the material cited was from Battis, but I just did a quick reading of Winship, and both Coggeshall and Aspinwall had been previously dismissed from the court (Winship, 2002, p 169), and Boston had to vote with only two of its deputies. In fact, Coggeshall had been considered for banishment before Hutchinson stood trial. There are many details from Winship that I plan to incorporate into the Coggeshall article in the future.Sarnold17 (talk) 10:31, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
After a few more minutes with the situation, I see that the Coggeshall article cites Bicknell (1920) on the subject, and this appears to be out of date with more modern scholarship on the subject. I will need to go back sooner, than later, and bring the Coggeshall article somewhat up to date.Sarnold17 (talk) 13:19, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Antinomian Controversy/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Hfeatherina (talk · contribs) 07:43, 29 November 2012 (UTC) Am reviewingHfeatherina (talk) 07:43, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for picking this up for review.Sarnold17 (talk) 10:25, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Completed a cursory read-over and edited the lead section to make the tone more neutral and the overall content more concise. Hfeatherina (talk) 17:53, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
"Historical impact" discussion is overly American-centric, too long to be appropriate for an encyclopedia article and opinion rather than fact based. I removed references to its importance from the lead-in as a teaser, but am of the opinion that the entire subsection should be cut - at the very least, it should be halved.Hfeatherina (talk) 04:57, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Somehow I missed the above comments that were made on 13 December. I'll get on this in the next day or two.Sarnold17 (talk) 15:31, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I've removed material from this section, and consolidated the material into a single paragraph. Why shouldn't the historical impact section be American-centric? The event occurred in colonial America, and based on my readings, was of interest to English people in America and to English people in England. I have mentioned the impact to both groups of people. I don't understand why you consider the quotes of two of the most eminent authorities on the subject to be "opinion-based" rather than "fact-based." If I can't trust their assessments of the controversy, then whose can I trust? The controversy had an impact; in fact it had a big impact, because it set the stage for the persecution of the Quakers 20 years later and for the Salem Witch Trials that would transpire a half century later. I don't understand why you don't find merit in the quotations that I give in this section.Sarnold17 (talk) 02:40, 4 January 2013 (UTC)


Hfeatherina, the reviewer, has not edited on Wikipedia for a month, since the comment post above on this page. Sarnold17, as it's only been nine days since your reply, you can wait in the hopes of a return, or the review can be ended and the nomination put back into the GAN pool. Please let me know your preference. Thanks. BlueMoonset (talk) 20:45, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. Let's just put it back in the pool and try again.Sarnold17 (talk) 20:48, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Okay. I'll do that now. BlueMoonset (talk) 21:35, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Antinomian Controversy/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Khazar2 (talk · contribs) 02:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi Sarnold, assuming you don't mind getting another review from me so soon, I'd be glad to take this one. (If you'd rather have fresher eyes though, I won't be at all offended.) Sorry you've had to wait so outrageously long for this one to get a full review. As last time, I'll start with a close readthrough of the article, noting any issues I can't fix immediately, and then move on to the checklist. Thanks in advance for all your work on this one. -- Khazar2 (talk) 02:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Sincere thanks to you for picking this up, since it has been unduly long in the waiting. I also appreciate your interest in the subject.Sarnold17 (talk) 03:22, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Initial readthrough[edit]

Again, this looks like really strong work. I made it through the first few sections with only minor issues:

  • "Recent scholarship depicts" --use a more specific date per WP:REALTIME
  • I've reworded this and attributed it to Winship in 2002.
  • "they were also called" -- "they" doesn't have a clear antecedent here; perhaps say "the dissenters"? "The 'free grace' advocates"?
  • I've rewritten as "free-grace advocates".
  • " a mode of atheism " -- a slightly unusual turn of phrase. Would it be fair here to just say "atheism"?
  • I've reworded this
  • "and to seek for better establishment in Christ..." -- is this ellipsis in the original? Also, is the roman numeral page number "x" correct? Google Books seems to show this on 17, but it may just be a different edition. [1]
  • I've removed the ellipsis, but it seems from my early education that if you don't include the entire sentence, then you use an ellipsis to show that you are breaking off the sentence. Also, the Roman numeral "x" is correct; I pulled a lot of Hall's material from his preface because he spends a lot of time summarizing the events there. The material may be found on p 17 as well.
  • "espousing that "an intuition of the Spirit", and not good works, was the only valid proof of one's election by God." -- maybe a little closer to the source phrasing ("the only valid proof") than needed.[2] Is it possible to reword a bit?
  • reworded to read: "an intuition of the Spirit", and not outward behavior, provided the only justification that one had been elected by God
  • "Such authority was rejected by the magistrates and ministers because it degraded their own authority." -- Might be worth adding "According to Hall," to the start of this sentence, unless this is widely agreed on in other sources as well (in which case ignore me). I don't doubt what she/he's saying, but it seems to be getting a bit speculative, since the ministers' actions could also be attributed to genuine beliefs.
  • I've now attributed the statement to Hall.

Okay, I'm calling it a night for tonight, but more to follow tomorrow. Glad to be working with you again. -- Khazar2 (talk) 03:40, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

  • "Recent scholarship depicts Cotton, Wheelwright and Vane as equally complicit" -- is this sentence relying only on, or primarily on, Winship? If so, you might just say that Winship depicts them that way so that it's clear this is the view of a single historian.
  • see above comment.
  • " college mate " -- in the British sense that they were "mates" (friends)? Or in the sense that they both attended Cambridge? This might be reworded
  • I looked this up in the wictionary, here, and it seems to be OK.
  • "Wheelwright preached a message of man's utter dependence on God's free grace, rejecting any notion that man could affect his salvation through his own works." -- normally I'd encourage you to rewrite a sentence like this in gender-neutral language. On the other hand, Wheelwright himself surely used this language, so I'd say it's okay to leave it this way. Your call.
  • I think this is OK as is. The word "man" in this case doesn't seem to refer to gender, but rather to humankind, and I would opt to keep the word "his" rather than the clutsy "his or her".
  • "Though the role of Vane is almost entirely neglected by scholars, he may have been the single most important reason that the controversy reached the pitch that it did." -- if this opinion is held by a minority of scholars, it definitely needs to be attributed to a specific author or authors--here and in the caption. (The caption in particular seems to flat-out say that most scholarship is wrong.)
  • I've added Winship as the source of this comment, and removed most of the image caption, only leaving Vane's name.
  • "come upon us for these differences and dissensions," -- If this comma isn't in the original, move it outside the quotation marks per MOS:LQ. This isn't a GA criterion, though, so you don't have to worry about fixing these for now.
  • Comma has been removed
  • "to the number of Antinomian opponents" -- perhaps to the "Antinomian faction"? It sounds here as if Winthrop was worried more immigrants would oppose the Antinomians, which doesn't seem likely.
  • wrong word used; "opponents" had been changed to "adherents" then changed to faction as suggested.
  • " to his surprise" -- Wheelwright was surprised, or Coggeshall? It sounds like it's Coggeshall from what follows--perhaps rewrite as "Coggeshall was next to be called forth, to his surprise, and was charged..."
  • sentence has been restructured as suggested.
  • "were warming up to the idea" -- slightly idiomatic, probably rewrite per WP:WTW
  • this phrase has been removed.
  • "...and if you go " -- is this ellipsis in the original?
  • ellipsis put outside quote (is this correct? after all we are beginning the quote in the middle of the sentence.
  • " for every default..." -- ellipsis check
  • ellipsis removed
  • Published works-- I can see the utility of this section and its table, but it also strikes me as problematic. First, it involves a fair amount of independent editorial comment--calling works "some of the most significant published works ", "The most comprehensive collection of source documents on the subject at the time of its publication", "more readable", "Downplays the role of Hutchinson in the controversy, and portrays Wheelwright, Cotton, and Vane as being much more focal to the event", etc. Second, I wonder if a reader might get more out of this if it were presented in prose, so that the significance of each book can be clearly explained from reliable sources. Did you have a particular model article in mind in designing this section that I might look at? I think I'd suggest refactoring this section as either a simpler "bibliography" list toward the end of the article, or perhaps a "Historical studies" section; right now it seems to uncomfortably straddle the line between a prose section and a simple list--what would you think of that?
  • Supporters and followers of Hutchinson and Wheelwright-- I do like the tables here, but I'd suggest making them default to collapse; they take up a lot of article space, and not many visitors to this article are likely to read these tables. If they were expandable, though, readers only interested in prose could more easily move past them. Sound okay to you?
  • My other concern about the "Supporters" table is with copyright. We're drawing on 28 pages of Battis' book in great detail here, and I'm concerned that we may be exceeding fair use. I can't get a good look in Google Books--how close is your table format to the original?

That's it for my first pass. I'd say overall it's looking good, my only real concerns are with the tables. I'm not dead-set against those, though, so let me know your thoughts. -- Khazar2 (talk) 14:02, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your many comments; I'm a bit busy right now, so likely will wait till tomorrow before addressing them. My gut reaction concerning the tables: I could easily turn the publications table into list of a sort that you suggested. However, I'm much more partial to the participants, because the expulsion of many of those people may be the only reason Rhode Island exists today. I did not include all of Battis' items in the tables, and could even pare them down further. I could also add comments or material from other sources to reduce any perception of copyright violations. I'll get back on this tomorrow evening.Sarnold17 (talk) 00:44, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
No hurry at all. The participants tables are probably okay then--I just wanted to make sure we weren't reproducing Battis' tables too closely. I might get a second opinion from a user more experienced in copyright. I definitely agree that it's a useful thing to have in the article. -- Khazar2 (talk) 00:53, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I've made a few changes today; will plan to steadily work through the comments over several days. I like your idea of collapsing the tables. Do you have any experience with this? If not, I can find an example and work my way through it.Sarnold17 (talk) 02:13, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I think I know how--I'll take a look in the morning (ditto for the rest of the above). There should be a simple parameter for this, the trick is finding it... =) -- Khazar2 (talk) 02:52, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Close paraphrasing[edit]

I hate to be a legalist, but I started looking up a few cited statements of this article for theological precision and found some close paraphrasing/copy-paste. These are from Hall p. x, and are pretty much copied in Antinomian Controversy#Hutchinson's beliefs:

  • " It may have been from Cotton that Hutchinson learned to question the significance of the "law" and the "covenant of works"..." Only difference is Mrs. Hutchinson → Hutchinson
  • "Cotton may have also encouraged her view of the Holy Spirit as being "indwelling in the elect saint."" Differences are He → Cotton, addition of "also," and "indwelling" in the elect saint → "indwelling in the elect saint."

These are just from using Amazon's preview feature. I'd have to check out the book to address it further. --JFH (talk) 16:32, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Your check is appreciated--definitely something that will need to be fixed. I don't own these books, but I'll do spotchecks of other sources accessible through Internet as well. -- Khazar2 (talk) 16:52, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
They are duplicated in Anne Hutchinson#Adulthood—following John Cotton (an FA!). Whatever is fixed here should be checked against Sarnold's related articles. --JFH (talk) 17:11, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
These are valid points, and need to be addressed. I have never cut and pasted anything in wikipedia; all my writing is from hand-written notes. However, my notes from Bremer, Hall and LaPlante are from a year and a half ago when the phrases "copy-vio" and "close paraphrasing" were not even on my radar. My notes obviously followed the attractive writing style of these writers, but I was also very unsure of the in-depth theology being presented, and didn't want to stray far from the authors' meaning. It wasn't until last summer that I became aware of these issues, and now I need to do some fixing. Here's my plan of attack. I will look at all of the Bremer and Hall references visible in the featured previews. Then I will look at all of the LaPlante references, since I have access to the book, and reword any potential close paraphrasing there. After that I will look at the Winship 2002 book (I have access), though I suspect there will be less of an issue there since I did that research more recently. Once the paraphrasing issues are addressed, I hope to re-do the "Published works" section, perhaps as prose. When this article has been addressed, I will do likewise with the Hutchinson article, since there is some shared material. The only other articles of concern would be John Wheelwright and John Wilson (Puritan), but these two articles are more recent, and the material is largely from Winship or out-of-copyright biographies. I will look at the Bremer, Hall, and LaPlante references in them. This will all take time, but these articles are important to me, and I want them to be excellent and I want them to be right, and I will do what I can to make them right. As far as this article goes, I would think the GA process can be held open as long as there is ongoing activity. It may take me a week or longer, but hopefully I can do this in a few days.Sarnold17 (talk) 22:22, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I apologize for using "copy-paste," (now struck) as these works are obviously not available for straight electronic copy-pasting. I'm glad to hear you'll be fixing these issues. --JFH (talk) 22:48, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Sarnold, for your quick attention to this. Your plan of attack sounds like a good one. The balance between fidelity to sources and close paraphrasing is a tricky one, and involves a lot of gray area. I agree with Jfhuston that in these cases, the phrasing should be moved further away, but I also hope you won't feel that we're about to disarm you, expel you from the colony, and force you to move to Rhode Island; note confusion happens to much better historians than either of us. I'm glad to hold the GA process for a week or two while you double-check these. As reviewer, I shouldn't do much rewriting myself, but let me know if there's any other way I can help! -- Khazar2 (talk) 00:34, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
And thanks for the kind response. I'm about a third of the way through the article with the initial sources. This is something that needs doing, so am glad to be getting it done. Will ask both of you to just check my edits.Sarnold17 (talk) 02:51, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Updates made[edit]

I think I'm done with the comments. I've gone through all of the references attributed to Hall, Bremer, LaPlante and Winship (2002), and have made several wording changes. Some of these were for close paraphrasing, others were for greater clarity or enhanced correctness. As far as I can see, I've answered the individual comments. Then, I've taken the section on published works and changed the table into prose. Lastly, I've collapsed the tables on the supporters, and with the first table I've gone through and updated Battis' material from Charles Anderson's Great Migration series. I'm not sure this is necessary, but it was my original intent to do so--take Battis' list of people and use Anderson for the details, since the latter is more up-to-date. Please let me know what your thoughts are on all of this.Sarnold17 (talk) 03:14, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Sounds great. I'll take a closer look some time this weekend. Thanks for your swift work on this. -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:00, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Is there a punctuation mark missing in the curse: "upon you and your posterity And the mouth"? -- Khazar2 (talk) 11:38, 19 January 2013 (UTC)


While an excellent article in most other respects, I'm still concerned with the closeness of much of the article's language to the original sources, and would suggest that it still needs some overhauling in this respect before being listed as a GA.

I've only done a few spotchecks, but the language in the first paragraph of "Background", for example, is still recognizably that of its source in many places [3]. "The term implied licentious behavior and religious heterodoxy" vs. "The term had connotations of licentious and immoral behavior and religious heterodoxy"; "Besides being called Antinomians, these free grace advocates were also called Anabaptists and Familists to discredit them" vs. "used, rather by the opponents of 'Antinomians' to discredit them"; "to link the free grace advocates with these disreputable movements." vs. "linking the proponents of 'free grace' in Massachusetts with these disreputable movements". Any one of these sentences would be only a minor problem in itself--my understanding is that sharing a non-exceptional phrase with a source here and there is not a serious issue--but at paragraph length, it becomes something that needs to be addressed, particularly for a source that's used extensively throughout the article. (One good solution for paragraphs like this one would be to try to draw on multiple sources if possible; there's example and discussion at WP:Paraphrase.) Another example of the sort of sentence that bothers me is at Winship p. 50: "he was the son of Henry Vane the Elder, a Privy Counsellor of King Charles I of England, and therefore one of the most powerful men in England" vs. "He was the son of one of the most powerful men in England, a privy counselor to Charles I." These happened to be the first two sources I checked, which suggests to me that the article still needs work overall.

I'm therefore not listing this for GA at this time, but I'm confident you'll get this one there soon. As I said above, paraphrasing is a murky gray area, but my suggestion in rewriting would be to approach this not at the level of sentences, but of paragraphs. If a given sentence has two or three facts in it, say, there's only a certain number of ways you can reorganize those two facts without the sentence getting bizarre, so attempting to rewrite sentences individually may not be the most helpful approach. But when you start to reorganize and recombine those facts into your own sentences, particularly when drawing on multiple sources, your phrasing becomes your own without requiring backflips of syntax. Sorry this review hasn't ended with the pass we both hoped for, but I think the article's getting there--good luck with taking it the rest of the way to GA, and feel free to ping me if there's any way I can help. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:37, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the effort and constructive criticism that you've put into this article. You have a very kind demeanor, and your encouragement is greatly appreciated. I can see that I've been doing patchwork, where instead some structural changes are needed. I will put this on the back burner, and hopefully get back to it afresh on another day.Sarnold17 (talk) 17:03, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
You're welcome--it was a pleasure to read some more of your work! Keep it up, -- Khazar2 (talk) 18:15, 19 January 2013 (UTC)


The lede is almost 600 words long yet manages to say absolutely nothing about the actual controversy. It uses the term ″free grace″ repeatedly without ever defining it or even linking to the free grace article. It also uses the terms covenant of works and covenant of grace without defining them, although it does link to the relevant articles. The rest of the 12,000-word article is not much better: the only two sections that look like they might provide some insight into the controversy (Background and Beliefs) both seem to assume that the reader is already familiar with the subject. DES (talk) 22:27, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

So fix it. Esrever (klaT) 00:01, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
<DES> I have no fricking clue what the article is about <Esrever> So fix it <DES> Logic is not your strong suit, is it? DES (talk) 13:29, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Came to this talk page after being confronted with the same thing -- (talk) 21:25, 29 March 2016 (UTC)