Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata

Paperback | August 2, 2005

byJeff Bach

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Winner, 2004 Dale W. Brown Book Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies

Winner, 2005 Outstanding Publication, Communal Studies Association

Co-published with the Pennsylvania German Society/Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

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.

In Voices of the Turtledoves, Jeff Bach is the first to draw extensively on Ephrata’s manuscript resources and on recent archaeological investigations 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.

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Winner, 2004 Dale W. Brown Book Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Anabaptist and Pietist StudiesWinner, 2005 Outstanding Publication, Communal Studies AssociationCo-published with the Pennsylvania German Society/Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht The Ephrata Cloister was a community of radical Pietists founded by Georg Conrad Beissel (1691–1768...

Jeff Bach is Associate Professor of Brethren and Historical Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary. During the summer of 1995, he served as Scholar in Residence at the Ephrata Cloister.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.69 × 5.6 × 0.75 inPublished:August 2, 2005Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271027444

ISBN - 13:9780271027449

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Prelude

Introduction

1. The Religious Thought of Ephrata: Conrad Beissel

2. The Religious Thought of Ephrata: Other Writers

3. "Holy Church Practices": Ritual at Ephrata

4. Manly Virgins and Virginal Men: Gender at Ephrata

5. "God’s Holy Point of Rest": Ephrata’s Mystical Language in Space and Time

6. Roses in the Wilderness: Ephrata’s Manuscript Art

7. "Heavenly Magic": Hidden Knowledge at Ephrata

Epilogue

Bibliographical Essay

Notes

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Bach’s book is a hard read, but not because he does not handle his subject deftly and with competence. Rather, as Beissel’s successor Peter Miller observed about the mystical language of Ephrata, ‘Those who speak it are hard to understand.’ Thanks to Bach, their voices (likened as they are to the cooing of turtledoves) become much more intelligible.”

—Edsel Burdge, Jr., Mennonite Quarterly Review