[Hymnal – Ephrata Cloister.] Paradisisches Wunder-Spiel, Welches sich In diesen letzten Zeiten und Tagen in denen Abend-la[e]ndischen Welt-Theilen…. Ephrata: Ephrata Cloister, 1766.

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Paradisisches Wunder-Spiel, Welches sich In diesen letzten Zeiten und Tagen in denen Abend-la[e]ndischen Welt-Theilen, als ein Vorspiel der neuen Welt hervorgethan: Bestehend in einer neuen Sammlung anda[e]chticher und zum Lob des grosen Gottes eingerichterer geistlicher, und ehedessen zum Theil publicirter Lieder

Beissel, Johann Conrad et al.

Published by Ephrata Cloister, 1766
[Hymnal.] Ephrata: Ephrata Cloister, 1766. Quarto (9 7/16" x 7 5/8", 239mm x 194mm). [Full collation available.] 244 leaves, pp. 1-2 (title, blank) 3-9, [1] (verse), 21-472, [6] (6pp. register). Bound in contemporary sheep. On the spine, five raised bands. Front board detached, rear hinge starting. Rubbed with some losses. Front free end-paper splitting. Damp-stain to [obelos] and Iii3-[chi]3. Single worm-hole [obelos]1-B4. Scattered tanning and foxing. Two small (early) repaired tears to the fore-edge of S1. Early ink marginalium to section 197 (p. 132). Seven four-leaf clovers (some partly perished) laid in (I3, X3, Aaa1, Ddd2, Ddd3, Hhh2, Kkk1) Johann Conrad Beissel (1691-1768) was born in Germany and emigrated to America in 1720. A German Baptist (Anabaptist, Schwarzenau Brethren, "Dunker" or "Dunkard"), he founded the Ephrata Cloister (the German for monastery being Kloster) in 1732 in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Cloister admitted men and women singly and married (as "Outdoor" members); all were to remain celibate while in the community, and so their numbers diminished to nil. Emergent from the Protestant tradition, the dissemination of holy texts, whether scripture or, as here, hymns, was crucial to the Ephrata community. The Sauers (Christoph or Christopher, father and namesake son) initially cornered the printing market, but the elder Sauer's wife left him to join the Cloister in 1730, setting the groups at odds. In 1745, Beissel set up a press (as well as, crucially, a paper-mill) within the Ephrata Cloister, allowing them to publish their own material as well as work for other Christian communities. A book of the same title was published at Ephrata in 1754, but that volume is quite different, as it includes printed music and two-color decorative printing. The present work is in four sections, each alphabetical by the first word of the hymn. The first is Beissel's own hymns (441), the second (73, from p. 297) by the solitary brothers, the third (99, from p. 348) by the solitary sisters, the fourth (111, from p. 404) by the community at large. Arndt-Eck 328; Evans 10239.
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