Voices of the Turtledoves
The Sacred World of Ephrata
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J. Bach examines Pennsylvania’s Ephrata Cloister during the colonial period through the lens of religious literature and practices. The book proposes that religion is the key to understanding the unique social community that emerged at Ephrata and also helps us to interpret some of Ephrata’s remaining material culture, such as their architecture and manuscript art. This is the first book to examine Ephrata’s religious thought based on extensive reading in all of the major printed works by Ephrata authors. Expanding the focus beyond just Conrad Beissel, Ephrata’s founder, has led Bach to conclude for the first time that a core of similar religious thought was broadly shared at Ephrata, even by critics within the community who were dissatisfied with Beissel’s personality.The central point of the book is that the Ephrata community advocated a mystical Christian life, preparing for and anticipating an awareness of God’s immediate presence.