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Abstract

In this article, the author challenges the consensus surrounding Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. This consensus claims the Bethlehem birth was a fabrication posited as messianic fulfilment of Micah 5.2. First, the author summarises the majority position on the issue. Second, the author problematises the notion that there was an expectation regarding Bethlehem as messianic birthplace. Third, the author claims the available evidence might equally suggest Jesus was born in Bethlehem, with Micah 5.2 reinterpreted in light of this. As such, the author calls for renewed discussion about Jesus’ birthplace, and the nature of scholarly argumentation surrounding the issue.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author:

Abstract

It is important to place the Americanization process of Moravians in North Carolina in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the context of the broader history of the Moravian mission to British North America in the mid-18th century. Two figures emerge as especially significant for understanding the ‘American Plan’ of the Moravians: Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf and August Gottlieb Spangenberg. Zinzendorf made an extensive visit to eastern Pennsylvania from late 1741 to 1743 during which time he generated a storm of controversies among both German-speaking and English-speaking settlers. He attempted to unite the German-speaking Protestants into an ecumenical fellowship, stayed for several weeks with American Indians in the village of Shamokin, preached in Lutheran and Reformed churches during the Great Awakening, and helped organize the Bethlehem congregation. Upon his return to England, Zinzendorf sent his trusted assistant, Bishop Spangenberg to take charge of the work in North America. Spangenberg organized Bethlehem as a religious commune without single family homes, directed the American Indian mission, and supervised the early Moravian settlement in North Carolina. This paper will explore the radical religious and social program of Zinzendorf and Spangenberg as an expression of their millennial hopes for the New World.

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
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Abstract

The “Golden Age” of Moravian music is generally acknowledged as being 1750-1830. The year 1830 also lines up with some definitions of “the long eighteenth century.” During this time, most Moravian music was comprised of music imported from Europe or composed by German Moravian composers based on European models; but in the early decades of the 19th century, American music was appearing in the manuscript books of students at Moravian educational institutions.

We also see the increasing influence of American music in the published sheet music collections of Salem residents. In fact, the Moravian Music Foundation holds one of about ten known copies of the first edition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The ongoing cataloging of the Salem Manuscript Books Collection may shed some light on who the students were, and when the manuscript books were copied, to show how Moravian educational institutions were opening up to American music.

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
Author:

Abstract

Archival records are created with intent and are preserved -- or sometimes destroyed -- with a purpose. Archivists therefore question the traditional idea of the archives as an impartial collection of documents able to give the historian objective insight into the past. Although Moravians have traditionally been considered good record keepers, substantial amounts of documents were destroyed between 1760 and 1810.

When the Unity Archives was founded as the central archives for the worldwide Moravian Church in 1764, a group of specially appointed “revisers” sifted through the material and destroyed documents that did not fit the reinvented image of the Moravian Church of the post-Zinzendorf era. By controlling the content of their archives, Moravians tried to manipulate the historiography of their church. As this presentation will argue, the work of the Moravian archivist was not invisible; on the contrary, the archivist edited the surviving record.

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
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Abstract

This study aims at a deeper understanding of the voices and perspectives of African American and Indigenous Moravian converts as presented in historical documents. American Indian communities and individual American Indian converts, like their converted African American neighbors, actively engaged in and reflected upon the theological, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of Moravian missionary spirituality, which in turn developed and changed through the encounter with non-European converts.

Conceived as a cosmopolitan enterprise from its European inception as articulated by Count Zinzendorf, Leonhard Dober and others, Moravian missions to Indigenous communities began with a settlement in Greenland in 1733, in New York in 1740, in Pennsylvania in 1741, and in Labrador in 1771. In 1801, Moravians were the first Christian missionaries invited to settle in the Cherokee Nation in what is today the state of Georgia. The forced Cherokee Removal to Oklahoma in 1839 ended the Moravian missionary presence in Georgia. This chapter explores the dynamics of nearly four decades of Cherokee nationalism, an emerging US federal policy, Southern state rights, and Moravian religious, specifically missionary beliefs as Moravians encountered enslaved Black people and Cherokee communities as their new neighbors.

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
Author:

Abstract

How did potters adapt to new ideas of personal freedom, changing racial norms, and increased industrialization after the American Revolution? In 1793, Salem’s second master potter, Rudolph Christ (1750-1833), embarked on an ambitious expansion of the congregation-owned pottery in Salem. Across the street from the original pottery workshop, Christ built a small kiln and shed on Lot 38 to fire new wares, adding faience, stoneware, and figural bottles to his stock-in-trade.

Over time, the expansion grew to include two larger kilns. These were used by Christ and later his replacement, John Frederic Holland (1821-1843), until they were torn down in 1831. This study combines archeological and historical research to better understand how Moravian potters used their craft to negotiate the complex and changing relationship between religion and economics during this transformative period.

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822