AB - This article argues that Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter can provide insight into the persistent appeal of the moral and political certitudes that theocracy offers and that can serve as a corrective to liberal secularism's often myopic tendency to downplay the continuing moral and political appeal of religious belief and authority. Focusing on three puzzles raised in the structure and narrative of The Scarlet Letter, the article explores Hawthorne's consideration of theocracy as a foundation in the past, as an antidote to the modern tendency toward materialism, and as a persistent alternative that deserves continued reflection.


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