Como, David R. 1970-

views updated

Como, David R. 1970-

PERSONAL:

Born June 3, 1970. Education: Princeton University, Ph.D., 1999.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Stanford University, Department of History, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg. 200, Stanford, CA 94305-2024. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Stanford University, Stanford, CA, associate professor of history, 2002—.

WRITINGS:

Blown by the Spirit: Puritanism and the Emergence of an Antinomian Underground in Pre-Civil-War England, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Protestant Identities: Religion, Society, and Self-Fashioning in Post-Reformation England, 1999; and Conformity and Orthodoxy in the English Church, c. 1560-1642, 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including English Historical Review, Historical Journal, Journal of British Studies, and Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

SIDELIGHTS:

Historian David R. Como earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1999, and began working as an associate professor at Stanford University in 2002. Throughout his career, Como has contributed scholarly articles to periodicals, including the English Historical Review, Historical Journal, Journal of British Studies, and the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. He has also contributed to books such as Protestant Identities: Religion, Society, and Self-Fashioning in Post-Reformation England and Conformity and Orthodoxy in the English Church, c. 1560-1642. His areas of expertise are Puritanism and the English Revolution. Como teaches courses on "Heresy, Witchcraft and Social Change in Early Modern England" and "Political Thought in Early Modern Britain," according to a profile posted on the Stanford University Web site.

Como's first full-length publication, Blown by the Spirit: Puritanism and the Emergence of an Antinomian Underground in Pre-Civil-War England, was published in 2004. The volume was nominated for the 2005 North American Conference on British Studies Prize and Fellowship. In a summary posted on that organization's Web site, a contributor stated that Como's debut book "takes on a subtle and exacting task: to excavate the theologically and socially radical tendencies inherent in English Puritanism with vigor, humanity, and rare finesse."

In Blown by the Spirit, Como explores a little-known sect of Calvinists who subtly challenged Puritanism in the years prior to the English Civil War. Throughout his study, Como gives biographical profiles of the religious leaders of the day, including John Eaton and John Everarde. A number of critics gave the book glowing reviews. For instance, Bernard Capp, critiquing Blown by the Spirit in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, called the book "exhaustive and erudite," and added that "Como has mounted a strong and important argument that deserves to be widely known." Capp also noted that the book's "brief conclusion sketches the wider implications of its findings." Daniel Woolf, writing in the Canadian Journal of History, was taken by Como's book, calling it "an excellent book and an impressive debut from a new scholar." Woolf further stated that "one of the many virtues of Como's careful work is its ability to delineate between species of antinomian, and between these and the common-or-garden puritan." "Como's book, though long, is well-written," concluded Woolf, adding that "particularly detailed is the elucidation of the differences of opinion between the followers of John Eaton and John Everarde on fine points of faith and salvation."

Yet another laudatory assessment of Blown by the Spirit came from David Parnham in Church History. Discussing Como's arguments, Parnham stated that the author "situates the pre-Civil-War antinomians within a generative puritan culture, enabling him to explicate the differences—both profound and subtle—that exercised the energies of like-minded souls." Given this, Parnham felt that "having mastered a breathtakingly rich archival and printed deposit, David Como offers carefully considered answers" to the questions set forth in his study. Parnham continued: "Como has composed a thoroughly engaging account of ideological mutation. He depicts an ebullient scene, full of passionate intellectual exchanges and treacherous political machinations." The critic added: "Blown by the Spirit is an immense, meticulously researched, enlightening, and challenging study of the social and intellectual terrain of early Stuart Puritanism." Following this line of reasoning, Parnham recommended the work as "an important book, and Como deserves warm congratulations for having written it."

Whereas Puritans felt that only adherents to religious law could find salvation, Antinomianists did not believe this to be the case. By tracing the clashes between these differing theologies, "Como has more than succeeded in his quest by filling a historiographical ‘void’ in the field of early Stuart Puritan studies," according to C.T. Tuell in the Renaissance Quarterly. Tuell added that by "using antinomianism as his vehicle, [Como] has reconstructed the complex and symbiotic relationship between radical and mainstream Puritanism and established the presence of its legacy in late-seventeenth-century England." Tuell ultimately concluded that "this ambitious project is a touchstone for future work in the field of English Puritanism." Even more laudatory in his assessment was Theological Studies critic Brendan Kane. Kane called the book "a brilliantly conceived and meticulously researched exploration of what Como calls an ‘antinomian underground’ in early Stuart England, of its dialectical relationship to mainstream Puritanism, and of that dialectic's historical influence." Concluding his review of Blown by the Spirit, Kane commented: "It will be very interesting to see how future research on the 1630s will deal both with his insights into the 1620s and his tentative conclusions on the pedigrees of radicals in the 1640s to 1650s. Based on this extraordinary study, we will be fortunate if it is [Como] himself who assumes the task."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February 1, 2005, J.C. Davis, review of Blown by the Spirit: Puritanism and the Emergence of an Antinomian Underground in Pre-Civil-War England, p. 214.

Canadian Journal of History, April 1, 2005, Daniel Woolf, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 102.

Church History, June 1, 2006, David Parnham, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 428.

English Historical Review, June 1, 2007, William Lamont, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 760.

History of Religions, February 1, 2007, David Underdown, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 274.

Journal of British Studies, July 1, 2005, Peter Marshall, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 593.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, October 1, 2006, Bernard Capp, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 783.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, September 22, 2005, Susan Juster, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 251.

Journal of Religion, April 1, 2005, David D. Hall, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 307.

Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2004, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 17.

Renaissance Quarterly, September 22, 2005, C.T. Tuell, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 1020.

Sixteenth Century Journal, June 22, 2006, Andrew Cambers, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 600.

Theological Studies, March 1, 2006, Brendan Kane, review of Blown by the Spirit, p. 185.

ONLINE

North American Conference on British Studies Web site,http://www.nacbs.org/ (May 27, 2008), "The Winners of the 2005 NACBS Prize and Fellowship Competitions."

Stanford University Web site,http://www.stanford.edu/ (May 27, 2008), faculty profile.