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Abstract

Notes which the teenager John Pynchon took in the 1640s as he listened to the Rev. George Moxon’s sermons in frontier Springfield, MA, have become the inspiration and the ingredients for sermon performances in 21st century New England. The project began with a word-for-word transcription of a symbol-for-symbol manuscript based on a code invented by Pynchon. Then a very few words which the notetaker skipped, in his rush to record just what he heard, were added to provide essential clarification. So, too, was introductory material to frame the experience by encouraging the listening congregation to “stretch” a bit to appreciate the message. My presentation will cover the steps involved in creating the text for preaching as well as the results of this experiment, and will include discussion of whatever principles can be discovered for re-presenting historical sermons in general.

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