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Title: Gender and piety in the German-speaking communities of Ebenezer, Georgia and Ephrata, Pennsylvania, circa 1730 to circa 1785
Author: Henley, Michelle Louise
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2005
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The German-speaking communities of Ebenezer, Georgia and Ephrata, Pennsylvania are the subjects of this thesis. Both of these communities were settled in the early eighteenth century by people whose religious beliefs strongly dictated their life-styles. Moreover, these beliefs shaped the ideals and reality of what is was to be a man and woman in each community. The study of Ebenezer and Ephrata offers a contrast between two strands of German pietism, moderate and more radical, that were practised in America. The different pietism influences had a striking impact on understandings of gender. Idiosyncratic codes of manhood and womanhood proved integral to the projected and perceived identity of both communities.  At Ebenezer, marriage was placed at the heart of the settlement and used as a means to perpetuate a strong, hierarchical understanding of authority within and beyond the family. In addition, Lutheran gender expectations were attracted to the institution of marriage and were used to define orderly and disorderly behaviour. In turn, these codes and expectations of behaviour contributed to the projection of a Christian and German-speaking community identity, which distinguished Ebenezer from surrounding settlements. By contrast, at Ephrata, celibacy was considered the purest state to which a person could aspire. Accordingly, at the Ephrata Cloister, men and women could live as unmarried, celibate brothers and sisters. The belief in celibacy, and related gendered views, meant that codes of manhood and womanhood were formed, which starkly contrasted with more common gendered beliefs in the British North American colonies. The Ephratan created their identity from their gendered philosophy. Outsiders to the community formed their own perceptions of the European based on the alternative gender practices that they had witnessed. Through the analysis of these distinctive codes of manhood and womanhood, it will become evident that the relationship between men and women was affected. An emphasis on the spiritual importance of an individual influenced the negotiation of power between men and women in ways that contrasted with wider social norms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available