The Sunwoman in the Wilderness: The Religious Beliefs and Practices of George Rapp's Harmony Society

Alice T. Ott


Paperback Edition: 978-1609470722   Retail: $64.50


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The religious beliefs of George Rapp and the Harmony Society were a unique blend of orthodox Lutheran beliefs and emphases found within churchly and radical Pietism. Rapp’s mature theology (ca. 1830-1847) was characterized by two divergent trajectories—a biblical-eschatological and a mystical-spiritual trajectory. The biblical-eschatological trajectory was staunchly biblical and theologically conservative and included “core Reformation doctrine”, churchly Pietist emphases, and an “Anabaptist” ecclesiology. The desire for “deeper knowledge” and a numinous experience of God was reflected in the mystical-spiritual trajectory. It encompassed cabbalistic and theosophical descriptions of God and man, alchemistical practice and language, and an allegorical Scriptural hermeneutic. The author engages in a broad range of primary and secondary sources to show that Rapp’s theology and ministry were based in a wide reading of radical Pietist literature.


About the Author:

Alice T. Ott (PhD in Historical Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is affiliate professor of the history of mission and world Christianity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield Illinois. She has over twenty years of missionary experience, and has published on the topic of German Pietism. She is married with three grown sons.






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