Tears of Repentance


Tears of Repentance

Christian Indian Identity and Community in Colonial Southern New England

Julius H. Rubin

424 pages
10 tables, 2 appendixes


July 2013


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eBook (EPUB)

April 2020


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eBook (PDF)

July 2013


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About the Book

Tears of Repentance revisits and reexamines the familiar stories of intercultural encounters between Protestant missionaries and Native peoples in southern New England from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Focusing on Protestant missionaries’ accounts of their ideals, purposes, and goals among the Native communities they served and of the religion as lived, experienced, and practiced among Christianized Indians, Julius H. Rubin offers a new way of understanding the motives and motivations of those who lived in New England’s early Christianized Indian village communities.

Rubin explores how Christian Indians recast Protestant theology into an Indianized quest for salvation from their worldly troubles and toward the promise of an otherworldly paradise. The Great Awakening of the eighteenth century reveals how evangelical pietism transformed religious identities and communities and gave rise to the sublime hope that New Born Indians were children of God who might effectively contest colonialism. With this dream unfulfilled, the exodus from New England to Brothertown envisioned a separatist Christian Indian commonwealth on the borderlands of America after the Revolution.

Tears of Repentance is an important contribution to American colonial and Native American history, offering new ways of examining how Native groups and individuals recast Protestant theology to restore their Native communities and cultures.

Author Bio

Julius H. Rubin is a professor of sociology at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of The Other Side of Joy: Religious Melancholy among the Bruderhof and Religious Melancholy and Protestant Experience in America.


"Rubin offers an interdisciplinary perspective on Indians in Christian missions by successfully combining methodologies originating in the sociology of religion with those in ethnohistory."—S.A. Klein, Choice

"There is a great deal in Tears of Repentance that should be of interest to anthropologists researching colonialism, religion, and personhood."—Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database

"Rubin brings a firm grasp of sociological and religious theory to the field of Native American history."—Journal of American Studies

"Tears of Repentance is recommended for all scholars of early New England."—Matthew Sparacio, H-AmIndian

"This is a work that offers someone new to the topic a useful overview of the history and meaning of Indian conversions. For the specialist reader, it is useful to see the whole knit together afresh and to reap the benefits of Rubin's careful and synthetic analysis of the extensive primary sources and secondary literatures."—Ann Marie Plane, Connecticut History Review

Table of Contents

List of Tables   



1. Praying Towns and Praying-to-God Indians   

2. The Penitential Sense of Life

3. The Pattern of Religious Paternalism in Eighteenth-Century Christian Indian Communities

4. Samson Occom and Evangelical Christian Indian Identity

5. The Stockbridge and New Jersey Brotherton Tribes

6. The Moravian Missions to Shekomeko and Pachgatgoch

7. Errand into the Borderlands

8. Frontier Rendezvous


Appendix A: Religion and Red Power

Appendix B: A Note on Indiantowns




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