Salem Architecture, 17th c.
September 25, 2020 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Is the "meeting house" in Crucible (Arthur Miller) a civic hall or a church?

Just need to know, don't have the time to read the whole play!
posted by plant or animal to Writing & Language (5 answers total)

A "meetinghouse", in Puritan parlance, was the central building of the community, serving both a civil and a religious function. So it would have been both; this was a society where civil government and religious worship were intertwined to such a degree that such an arrangement seemed natural to them.

Quakers and Mennonites, among others, also call their religious spaces "meeting houses" (the "church" being not the physical edifice, but the community that meets there).
posted by jackbishop at 8:55 AM on September 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

Thanks, zamboni and jackbishop. This is going to be hard to translate! I'll figure out something.
posted by plant or animal at 8:58 AM on September 25, 2020

Yeah this is a New England thing where the buildings were kind of both. You can still see this in a lot of small New England towns, where there will be a non-church place called a "Meeting House" but it's clearly got the trappings of a church when you are inside. Looking up Colonial Meeting House on Wikipedia may be helpful.
posted by jessamyn at 9:00 AM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not only "kind of" both; there was no distinction between government and religion in the early Colonial period, so they were both.

This will help.
posted by Miko at 8:08 PM on September 27, 2020

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