Arthur Miller’s The Crucible & the Church

I’m currently teaching The Crucible. Although I strongly suspect that Miller had his own axe to grind with fundamentalists of his day (i.e. McCarthyites who still swear to this day that a Commie was under every bush—especially in Hollywood), there are important themes that are emerging as our class finishes up the first two acts. I won’t share any until we’re done with the book but there is one question that I asked my class to expound upon and I’ll leave it to you.

There is a scene where Rev. Hale asks John Proctor to recite the Ten Commandments to prove the authenticity of his faith. This “test” comes up elsewhere in the story. My question is simple:

Does right theology equal godliness? Is determining whether someone has memorized a particular passage of Scripture the ultimate litmus test for a professing Christian?

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