The Practice of Pluralism -- 18th Century Style



5 comments

Paul Harvey

This book just came to my attention via Choice -- and it's sure to be of interest to some here, so I'll reprint the review.

Häberlein, Mark.The practice of pluralism: congregational life and religious diversity in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1730-1820. Pennsylvania State, 2009. 276p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780271035215, $79.00. Reviewed in 2010may CHOICE.
This meticulously researched book explores the complex religious landscape of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, during the long 18th century. Lancaster, despite its relatively small size and inland location, served as a fertile ground for religious diversity and the interaction of Lutherans, Moravians, Calvinists, Anglicans, Quakers, Catholics, Jews, and others. Häberlein populates his book with English and Germans, clergy and laypeople, upright citizens and ne'er-do-wells, and the result is a captivating sketch of life in a growing town. Although this microhistory focuses on one town, it does not lose sight of the larger American religious and political contexts.Häberlein's
depiction of Lancaster calls attention to the more widespread themes of revival, discipline and decorum, clergy-lay clashes over authority, and philanthropy. The author combines the denominational history model (to set the stage for the stories of the larger groups) with a social history of interactions among residents of different religions. The result is a detailed snapshot of a town where the people of each church strove for stability, and even in the turbulent times of the Great Awakening and War of Independence managed to build and sustain it. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty.
-- S. E. Imhoff, University of Chicago

5 comments:

Linford Fisher at: April 20, 2010 at 10:40 AM said...

Awww...as one who hails from the rolling farmlands of Lancaster County (pronounced by placing the emphasis on the first syllable, thank you: LAN-cast-er), whose Swiss-German Mennonite heritage added to that cacophonous diversity, I'm all warm and fuzzy inside. I've always thought Lancaster Co. was an understudied geographic region. Thanks for the post.

Christopher at: April 21, 2010 at 2:57 PM said...

This looks great--thanks for the heads up.

Devin at: April 22, 2010 at 8:28 AM said...

I'm curious: What kind of attention does Häberlein pay to the Anabaptist emigrants (Mennonites, Dunkers, Brethren in Christ, etc.) who came to Lancaster Co. seeking economic and religious freedom? As Linford suggests above, these unique Protestants certainly added to the "cacophonous diversity" of this particular corner of Penn's Woods.

Paul Harvey at: April 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM said...

Devin: I don't know, I haven't seen the work, just found the review on Choice. Perhaps someone else who takes a look at the book can comment.

jaswinder at: June 13, 2010 at 3:50 AM said...

i am working on pluralism project. i wanna read this book online. is there any suggestion???????????

plz send me link

singhsardar13@gmail.com is my id
thanks

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