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Historical Dictionary of the Shakers (Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies and Movements) [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   326
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.7" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 8, 2008
Publisher   The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
ISBN  0810859599  
EAN  9780810859593  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers, followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774 when life in England became difficult. In the United States, they established several colonies whose governing principals included celibacy and agrarian communal living. Even at its peak, however, Shakerism claimed only about 4,500 members. Today, except for one active community in Sabbathday, Maine, the great Shaker villages are diminished, but the Shakers left an enduring impact on the religion and culture of the United States. The Historical Dictionary of the Shakers relates the history of this fascinating group through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and over two hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on Shaker communities, industries, individual families, and important people. Every definition, biography, and point of history was submitted to the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake for their review before it was included for publication. As such, the voice of the contemporary Shakers is found in the dictionary, and they have given it their unequivocal endorsement.

Publishers Description
The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers, followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774 when life in England became difficult. In the United States, they established several colonies whose governing principals included celibacy and agrarian communal living. Even at its peak, however, Shakerism claimed only about 4,500 members. Today, except for one active community in Sabbathday, Maine, the great Shaker villages are diminished, but the Shakers left an enduring impact on the religion and culture of the United States. The Historical Dictionary of the Shakers relates the history of this fascinating group through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and over two hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on Shaker communities, industries, individual families, and important people. Every definition, biography, and point of history was submitted to the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake for their review before it was included for publication. As such, the voice of the contemporary Shakers is found in the dictionary, and they have given it their unequivocal endorsement.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Useful and Insightful  May 4, 2009
I have used this book in my Shaker seminars, recommended it to students, and found that they use it well. It has concise, yet informative and helpful insights. It brings basic Shaker history up-to-date while carrying forward important historical data. I particularly appreciate the list of those who served in the Gospel Ministry and the latest Rules for living the Shaker life--a very nice touch.
 
Dr. Magda Gabor-Hotchkiss Endorses This Book  May 4, 2009
Stephen J. Paterwic's long awaited and lucid, interesting, insightful, useful and at times arresting Historical Dictionary of the Shakers makes for a wonderful reading! I've spent quite a bit of time with it, and found it moving, illuminating, and thought-provoking.
The organization of the volume is straight forward and effective. The Preface is not only to the point, but deeply moving, explaining the history of the author's involvement with the Shakers. Placing the Chronology of the Shakerism in the front and not at the end of the volume was an excellent decision. The selection of events, the dates of establishment and closings of the Shaker communities, the inclusion of Shaker publications, and the running tally of membership numbers as years were marching on, are very helpful in anchoring and grounding the Shaker story.
The introductory part of the Introduction is both, powerful in its economy and full of insights; the same is true of the History part. The explanation of the evolution of the organizational structure and names of the families was particularly helpful.
The "Dictionary's" many biographies are interesting and crammed with information. Some are absolutely fascinating, like that of Daniel Offord, Richard McNemar, or Ernest Pick, for example! Most illuminating are the entries regarding the often confused notions about the Center Family, Center of Union, and Central Ministry, and/or those about the evolution of various other Families. No matter what subjects were tackled, be they relating to specific Shaker Families, or general concepts, like Christlife, or Jesus of Nazareth, Order, etc., the entries are compellingly "authoritative," so packed they are with important facts, deep knowledge, and insights. This is true of the equally interesting entries on various industries.
The added informative Appendices are useful and interesting, further broadening the scope of this valuable volume. The Bibliography is truly most impressive, because of its unconventional organization, containing a special table of contents and an introduction, followed by a long and informative listing of pertinent contributions.
In summary, I sincerely believe that this volume of substance, clarity, and authority will provide an important service to the reader, be s/he an uninitiated novice, a Shaker aficionado, a general historian, or a Shaker- specialized scholar, for at least a generation to come.

Dr. Magda Gabor-Hotchkiss, editor of the 2nd and Annotated Edition of
The Shaker Image, 1994
 
Brilliant Contribution to Shaker Scholarship!  May 1, 2009
Long-time Shaker scholar Steve Paterwic has compiled an invaluable volume, packed with valuable information, based on decades of painstaking and exacting research in Shaker primary source manuscripts. The latest title in a long-running series of "Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements," edited by Jon Woronoff, this volume significantly expands upon, corrects, and updates an earlier contribution to the same series.

A substantial introductory essay provides the most careful and balanced summary overview of Shaker history, expansion, organization, and practice to be found in a recent publication. Appendices include a range of information, from a historical chronology of the Gospel Ministry to a current Covenant, contemporary iteration of the longstanding Millennial Laws (reflecting modern deletions so as to allow the reader to better understand the historical progression of this vital document), and summary accounts of contemporary Shaker daily life and worship. Paterwic's Bibliography alone is worth the price of the book. Instead of a single listing, Paterwic creates helpful bibliographic categories and includes an essay that skillfully contextualizes the various subfields of Shaker literature, providing an excellent overview of both the rich diversity of Shaker studies and of the directions in which Shaker studies has yet to evolve fully.

But the centerpiece of this book is the "Dictionary" itself. Paterwic has compiled over 250 pages of alphabetized entries, and these cover a truly impressive range of people, places, concepts, and events reflecting well over two centuries of the Shaker experience. The majority consists of compact yet substantial essays, and the thorough cross-referencing allows the reader to flow seamlessly through the volume, developing a more thorough understanding of virtually any aspect of Shakerism.

Overall, no reader can possibly go wrong with this fine volume. The Shaker "buff" will be greatly enlightened and stimulated for even a higher appreciation of things Shaker. The serious Shaker scholar will find a ready reference aid for tracking down facts and concepts that would otherwise be obscured in the vast and widely dispersed primary sources. And all readers will be touched by Paterwic's tender introduction, in which he reminds readers of the continued relevance of the Shaker message and the capacity of any person to be touched spiritually by this remarkable American tradition.
 
Indispensable Resource  May 1, 2009
At last here is a book which is an excellent reference and research tool for anyone wishing to have factual information about the United Society of Shakers (The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing). Stephen J. Paterwic has been a presenter and speaker at Shaker seminars and forums for many years, beginning his research in the mid 1970's. He is highly respected as a Shaker Scholar, with a reputation for exacting and honest work. This dictionary represents his research into the Shaker Society from both an historical and contemporary perspective. It is not written for anyone with only a casual interest in the Shakers, although they would find it filled with useful information, but for the scholar and student seeking correct facts and information on all the Shaker Societies and their members. It truly is a dictionary of information, where one may find the answers to many questions. I enthusiastically recommend this book to students of Shakerism in all its forms.

Elaine L. Disch
Past President, The Friends of the Shakers
 
Finally, the facts are made clear and true  May 1, 2009
The Historical Dictionary of the Shakers is an extremely valuable reference for several reasons: It states the truth about a variety of subjects germaine to The United Society (called Shakers), it states them clearly and succinctly, and it presents them in an easy-to-find format.
Author Stephen Paterwic does not shy away from controversy--but deals with it in a direct, dispassionate, and honest manner.
Not everyone will like this book--certainly not those who would like to perpetuate such myths/lies as "the Shaker covenant was/is closed" and the like. I believe that time will prove that untruths and half truths must ultimately be subjected to the clear light of day. This is the true value of The Historical Dictionary of the Shakers and I celebrate its appearance; among those of us who strive, each in his own way, to bring forth the truth about the Shakers--past and present--this is great news.
M. Stephen Miller, author of "From Shaker Lands and Shaker Hands."
 

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