Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata

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9780271022505: Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata
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The Ephrata Cloister was a community of radical Pietists founded by Georg Conrad Beissel (1691-1768), Voices of the Turtledoves looks at the sacred world that flourished at Ephrata.

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"Where numerous scholars failed in past centuries to write a definitive work about Ephrata Cloister during its peak years as an ethnic, religious, and cultural curiosity in America, Jeff Bach successfully articulates the context in which Ephrata was created and functioned. His research is grounded in thorough knowledge of the European religious thought, practice, and writing that heavily influenced Ephrata’s founder and spiritual leader, Conrad Beissel."—Nadine A. Steinmetz, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Site Director of Ephrata Cloister, 1984–1995

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Co-published with the Pennsylvania German Society

The Ephrata Cloister was a community of radical Pietists founded by Georg Conrad Beissel (1691–1768), a charismatic mystic who had been a journeyman baker in Europe. In 1720 he and a few companions sought a new life in William Penn’s land of religious freedom, eventually settling on the banks of the Cocalico Creek in what is now Lancaster County. They called their community "Ephrata," after the Hebrew name for the area around Bethlehem. Voices of the Turtledoves is a fascinating look at the sacred world that flourished at Ephrata.

At its height in the 1760s, the community at Ephrata probably numbered more than two hundred members. Celibate brothers and sisters were divided into two separate but cooperative orders, jointly called the Solitary, that followed a rule of ascetic devotion. A third order, the Householders, consisted of families that worshipped with the brothers and sisters and contributed to the communal economy. Jeff Bach is the first to draw extensively on Ephrata’s manuscript resources and on recent archaeological investigations (conducted annually since 1994) to present an overarching look at the community. He concludes that the key to understanding all the various aspects of life at Ephrata—its architecture, manuscript art, and social organization—is the religious thought of Beissel and his co-leaders.

In Ephrata’s devotional literature, the turtledove appears as a metaphor for a faithful spouse, representing the desire of Ephrata members to be joined faithfully to Christ. Voices of the Turtledoves allows various Ephrata members to speak through their writings and provides an important key to understanding their symbolic religious community.

Today, Ephrata is one of Pennsylvania’s premier tourist destinations, located near the heart of Amish country. Visitors are drawn to its magnificent buildings and idyllic setting and imagine a lost oasis of peace and contemplation. Voices of the Turtledoves will appeal to anyone who has visited or is planning a visit to Ephrata. Based on impeccable research, it will also interest students of history, religion, and the communal societies of colonial America.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780271027449: Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata (Pennsylvania German History and Culture)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0271027444 ISBN 13:  9780271027449
Publisher: Penn State University Press, 2005
Softcover

9783525558270: Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata (Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Pietismus)

Vanden..., 2003
Hardcover

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