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Pious Pursuits: German Moravians in the Atlantic World

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Volume 7

European Expansion & Global Interaction

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Pious Pursuits

German Moravians in the Atlantic World

Edited by Michele Gillespie and Robert Beachy

278 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-339-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2007)

eISBN 978-1-78920-402-5 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“In bringing these essays together into an argument for diasporic tensions, Pious Pursuits juxtaposes different scholarship on Moravians to expose the contrary nature of trying to synthesize a group of people who lived all over the world over multiple centuries. However, it is that range that makes this collection so good; it is hard to imagine any reader not finding at least a few essays relevant, new, and thought-provoking. And by systematically examining Moravians in the Atlantic world, Pious Pursuits provides a framework for future scholarship on other diasporic communities.”  ·  Journal of American Ethnic History

This collection will be a valuable resource for scholars of the Atlantic world, the eighteenth century, and the history of religion.”  ·  German-Canadian Studies

"The present volume, with some highly original research, well written and widely focused, adds an important intercultural perspective to the Atlantic evangelicalism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and is a very good starting point for further investigations."  ·  H-Atlantic

"The reader who takes time to enjoy these essays will no doubt not only learn a lot about Moravians but also about the important role relatively small religious German communities played in a predominantly Anglo-American environment."  ·  H-Soz-u-Kult

"... an excellent introduction to key themes of Moravian history and a good basis for further explorations."  ·  German Historical Institute London Bulletin


Recent work on the history of migration and the Atlantic World has underscored the importance of the political economies of Europe, Africa, and the Americas in the eighteenth century, emphasizing the impact of these exchanges on political relations and state-building, and on economic structures, commerce, and wealth. Too little of this work explores culture and identity outside the Anglo-American context, especially as reflected through religious developments of radical Pietists and other Germans, the second largest group of migrants to the American colonies in the eighteenth century.

This volume offers a fresh vantage point from which to examine the Atlantic World. Quick to traverse the conventional political boundaries that divided European states and American colonies, Moravians departed their homeland to form new congregations in the most cosmopolitan European cities as well as on the North American frontier. Pious Pursuits explores the lives and beliefs of Atlantic World Moravians, as well as their communities and culture, and it provides a new framework for analysis of the Atlantic World that is comparative and transnational.

Michele Gillespie is Kahle Associate Professor of History at Wake Forest University. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University, and is the author of numerous publications including Free Labor in a Free World: White Artisans in Slaveholding Georgia, 1790-1860.

Robert Beachy is Associate Professor of History at Goucher College. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and is the author of The Soul of Commerce: Credit, Property, and Politics in Leipzig, 1750-1840. His current book project is Berlin: Gay Metropolis, 1860-1933 .

Subject: History: 18th/19th Century Colonial History Refugee and Migration Studies
Area: North America Germany


List of abbreviations



Chapter 1. Imperial communities
Mack Walker

Chapter 2. Manuscript missions in the age of print: Moravian community in the Atlantic world
Robert Beachy

Chapter 3. Deep in the side of Jesus: The persistence of Zinzendorfian piety in colonial America
Craig D. Atwood

Chapter 4. Moravian physicians and their medicine in colonial North America: European models and colonial reality
Renate Wilson


Chapter 5. Fashion passion: The rhetoric of dress within the eighteenth-century Moravian brethren
Elisabeth Sommer

Chapter 6. New birth in a new land: evangelical culture and the creation of an American identity
S. Scott Rohrer

Chapter 7. "Commerce that the Lord could sanctify and bless": Moravian participation in transatlantic trade, 1740–1760
Katherine Carté Engel

Chapter 8. Piety and profit: Moravians in the North Carolina backcountry market, 1770–1810
Emily Conrad Beaver

Chapter 9. Moravians, the market and a new order in Salem
Michael Shirley


Chapter 10. "No one should lust for power... women least of all.": Dismantling female leadership among eighteenth-century Moravians
Beverly P. Smaby

Chapter 11. The role of the pastor’s wife in the pioneering generation of protestant German-speaking clergy in the American colonies
Marianne S. Wokeck

Chapter 12. Unlikely sisters: Cherokee and Moravian women in the early nineteenth-century
Anna Smith

Chapter 13. Moravian missions in times of emancipation: Conversion of slaves in Surinam during the nineteenth-century
Ellen Klinkers

Chapter 14. Slavery, race, and the global fellowship: Religious radicals confront the modern age
Jon Sensbach

Chapter 15. Conclusion: Moravians and the challenge of writing global history of Diasporic Christianity
A. G. Roeber

Selected Bibliography

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