Ephrata: Gedruckt und zu haben bey Joseph Bauman, 1819-1820. First edition. 3 parts in 1, with an additional title bound in (as published), 12mo, contemporary plain calf spine, black checkerboard paper boards, 142, , 145-168 pages. Some slight rubbing to the corners and edges of the boards; a little dust soiling; a nearly fine copy. Item #17698
I’ll note going into this description that while it isn’t necessarily groundbreaking scholarship, the research and wording are both all mine; should it seem remarkably similar (not to say entirely cut-and-pasted to) a description of a lesser copy on eBay, I will let the conscience of other booksellers cataloging books for sale guide them in their course of conduct—as only seems appropriate to the religious subjects at hand. In any case, this particular copy is in fact a “remarkably pretty copy” (Garrett Scott, original observation, 2018) in the original decorated paper boards of one of two known published works from Sangmeister, a key figure in (and critic of) Ephrata; the second part of Mystische Theologie (largely written between 1774 and 1778) warns that the American Revolution is a sign of God’s impending judgment, and in part restates the androgynous creation story characteristic of the community’s theology. Sangmeister (1723-1784) was an important early figure in the Ephrata community; born Georg Heinrich Sangmeister, he took the name Ezechiel when he joined the Ephrata colony in 1748; he left the colony for Virginia in 1752 and gathered his own Ephrata-like community in the Shenandoah Valley before hostilities with the Native Americans drove most of his community back to Ephrata in 1764 (Bach 61-67). Mystische Theologie includes separate title pages for the second and third parts, as well as a separate title page for the Kurze Lebens-Beschreibung des seligen Ezechiel Sangmeister. Zweyte Auflage. (Though this “short life” of Sangmeister is styled the second edition, no separately-published earlier treatment of Sangmeister’s life, short or otherwise, is otherwise located by this cataloguer; Bauman later published from manuscript Sangmeister’s extensive critical account of Beissel and life at the Ephrata colony, the 4-volume Das Leben und Wandel des in Gott ruhenten und seligen Br. Ezechiel Sangmeisters from 1825-1827.) Alderfer notes the Kurze Lebensbeschreibung “adjudged by Wust to be ‘most eloquent in the self-assessment of his ascetic life,’ which he wrote to his fellow mystic, the alchemist Jacob Martin, shortly before his death.” See Jeff Bach, Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata (Penn State University Press, 2003) & Everett Gordon Alderfer, The Ephrata Commune: An Early American Counterculture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985). Arndt 2415 & 2413.