Cover image for German Pietism and the Problem of Conversion By Jonathan Strom

German Pietism and the Problem of Conversion

Jonathan Strom

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$89.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-07934-9

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240 pages
6" × 9"
1 b&w illustration
2018

Pietist, Moravian, and Anabaptist Studies

German Pietism and the Problem of Conversion

Jonathan Strom

“Jonathan Strom’s argument provides a level of nuance in understanding the nature of Pietist conversion and conversion narratives that has not previously been achieved. This book offers a sophisticated contribution to the field of Pietism studies, and it will appeal to scholars in the field, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates.”

 

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August Hermann Francke described his conversion to Pietism in gripping terms that included intense spiritual struggle, weeping, falling to his knees, and a decisive moment in which his doubt suddenly disappeared and he was “overwhelmed as with a stream of joy.” His account came to exemplify Pietist conversion in the historical imagination around Pietism and religious awakening. Jonathan Strom’s new interpretation challenges the paradigmatic nature of Francke’s narrative and seeks to uncover the more varied, complex, and problematic character that conversion experiences posed for Pietists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Grounded in archival research, German Pietism and the Problem of Conversion traces the way that accounts of conversion developed and were disseminated among Pietists. Strom examines members’ relationship to the pious stories of the “last hours,” the growth of conversion narratives in popular Pietist periodicals, controversies over the Busskampf model of conversion, the Dargun revival movement, and the popular, if gruesome, genre of execution conversion narratives. Interrogating a wide variety of sources and examining nuance in the language used to define conversion throughout history, Strom explains how these experiences were received and why many Pietists had an uneasy relationship to conversions and the practice of narrating them.

A learned, insightful work by one of the world’s leading scholars of Pietism, this volume sheds new light on Pietist conversion and the development of piety and modern evangelical narratives of religious experience.

“Jonathan Strom’s argument provides a level of nuance in understanding the nature of Pietist conversion and conversion narratives that has not previously been achieved. This book offers a sophisticated contribution to the field of Pietism studies, and it will appeal to scholars in the field, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates.”
“Jonathan Strom’s manuscript is a landmark study that redirects our understanding of one of the key concepts of Pietist religion in a fundamental way.”

Jonathan Strom is Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Church History at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and the author of Pietism and Community in Europe and North America, 1650–1850.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface

Abbreviations

Introduction

I August Hermann Francke's Conversion

II Early Pietism and the Diverse Cultures of Conversion

III Conversion in Light of Death: von Schönberg and Henckel's Last Hours

IV The Busskampf and Conflicting Views of Conversion after Francke

V Pietist Periodicals and the Conversion Narrative

VI Conversion at Dargun

VII Execution Narratives and the Collapse of the Conversion Narrative

VIII Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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