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Introduction Utopian Literature Dystopian Literature Utopian Communities



In the early 1700’s, a series of German Second Adventists (pilgrims who believed in the imminent second coming of the Christ) moved to Pennsylvania and founded two important Utopian communes, Ephrata Cloister and The Woman in the Wilderness. Both believed that America would be the land of the Second Coming. Woman in the Wilderness derived its name from the woman in Revelation 12:6 who fled to the wilderness to escape a fiery dragon and wait for the return of Christ. Through their piety, creativity, learning, and work ethic, both communes heavily influenced the formation of the Pennsylvania Colony.



Martyrs’ Mirror

Thieleman J. van Braght. Het Bloedig Toneel of Martelaars Spiegel. Ephrata in Pensylvanien: Drucks und verlags der brüderschafft, 1748-1749.

The Martyrs’ Mirror was the single largest tome published in colonial America. Its purpose was to relate the lives of Christian martyrs from the time of Christ to 1600, with emphasis after the Reformation on Protestants who suffered persecution for their faith. The Ephrata Cloister’s printing press with its Gothic type was famous throughout the German-speaking world.




Ephrata Cloister
The members of the Ephrata Cloister were an internationally famous group of scholars who gathered under the leadership of the mystical Conrad Beissel. Believing that the highest spiritual attainment was possible only to celibates, Solitary Sisters and Solitary Brethren lived in separate monastic buildings. A third group, Householders, lived in family groups.

Adherents took new names, lived in great austerity, and adopted a Capuchin-style habit. Their cultural accomplishments included calligraphy and choral music. Their Fraktur, printed documents with stunning hand illuminations, gained wide acclaim.

Ephrata hymnal pixel.gif   pixel.gif  
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