Piety and Tolerance
Pennsylvania German Religion, 1700-1850
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Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Number of Pages: 216
Width: 14.2 cm
Height: 22.3 cm
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.
...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. Brethren In Christ History and Life 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. ...raises important issues of religious liberty...through this treatment he has portrayed a significant portion of the delicate balance of American religious experience. Lutheran Quarterly "...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." CHOICE 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. Journal of Church & State