Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata

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Penn State Press, 2003 - Religion - 282 pages
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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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Page 5 - is that part of its belief and practices that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the reaction to what can be described as the immediate or direct presence of God.
Page 6 - the total complex of efforts which man has made and is making towards the immediate apprehension of the divine, and whatever may be the results of this experience in daily life.

About the author (2003)

Jeff Bach is Associate Professor of Brethren and Historical Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary.