Piety and Tolerance: Pennsylvania German Religion, 1700-1850

Overview

This book examines the influence of religion, particularly Pietism, among Pennsylvania Germans during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In Pennsylvania, a pluralistic population—from hermits who opposed all church structure to traditionalists seeking to recreate Europe's ecclesiology—coexisted despite disagreements. With such diversity differences were almost inevitable, but all fellowships, even those who disdained the mainstream, enjoyed tolerance, and Pennsylvania came to resemble a quilt or ...

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Overview

This book examines the influence of religion, particularly Pietism, among Pennsylvania Germans during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In Pennsylvania, a pluralistic population—from hermits who opposed all church structure to traditionalists seeking to recreate Europe's ecclesiology—coexisted despite disagreements. With such diversity differences were almost inevitable, but all fellowships, even those who disdained the mainstream, enjoyed tolerance, and Pennsylvania came to resemble a quilt or rainbow rather than a melting pot, much like the patchwork pattern in modern America. Much of Pennsylvania's tolerance stemmed from Pietism, or the doctrine of the new birth, which permeated popular thought, inspiring believers as disparate as Mennonites and Amish, multi-ethnic Lutheran congregations, and campmeeting enthusiasts. Pietists taught that God democratically offered salvation to every man and woman who chose to accept it, thereby eroding religious intolerance. Pennsylvania Germans, therefore, created a religious landscape characterized by division yet with a level of tolerance that promoted understanding between denominations. Many Pennsylvania Christians lived together and often cooperated with one another despite their differences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Longenecker's defense of German Protestantism is a welcome addition to recent "decentering" projects seeking a new narrative to describe the development of religion in America.
CHOICE
"...will prove valuable for scholars seeking to understand how pietism contributed to the development of religious liberty. Especially recommended for religion collections. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty."
Journal of Church & State
Stephen Longenecker has produced a fine narrative which should serve as an excellent starting place for anyone interested in understanding the variety of German Protestantism in early America.
Brethren In Christ History and Life
...the strength of the monograph...is Longenecker's successful mining of source-books, religious periodicals, and (a particularly creative move) contemporary hymnals... well worth detailed study and appropriation...fascinating study.
Lutheran Quarterly
...raises important issues of religious liberty...through this treatment he has portrayed a significant portion of the delicate balance of American religious experience.
Choice
"...will prove valuable for scholars seeking to understand how pietism contributed to the development of religious liberty. Especially recommended for religion collections. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty.
Journal of Church and State
Stephen Longenecker has produced a fine narrative which should serve as an excellent starting place for anyone interested in understanding the variety of German Protestantism in early America.
Booknews
Explores the roots of tolerance in early America and examines the influence of religion, especially Pietism, among Pennsylvania Germans during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Discusses the theology of Pietism and the Old World society that emigrating Germans left behind, and the subgroups within Pennsylvania German Pietism, including Radical Pietists, Anabaptists, and Lutherans. Investigates the Pietists' application of their faith to the slavery issue. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810827714
  • Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Series: Pietist and Wesleyan Studies Series , #6
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen L. Longenecker is an Assistant Professor of History at Bridgewater College in Virginia. He is also the author of The Christopher Sauers and Selma's Peacemaker: Ralph Smeltzer and Civil Rights Mediation.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Foreword
Foreword
Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction: An Egalitarian Theology 1
1 The Last Shall Be First: The Socio-Economic Status of German Anabaptists 7
2 Testing the Limits of Tolerance: Radical Pietists in Early Pennsylvania 27
3 Keeping the Commandments: The Anabaptists 47
4 Wachet auf: The Pennsylvania German Awakening 71
5 "No deeptoned organ": The Rise of the New Revivalists 105
6 Proclaiming Liberty to the Captives 141
Conclusion: Kummt tsoo Yaisoos 169
Bibliography 173
Index 189
About the Author 196
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