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Conference to Examine the Educational Traditions of Moravians

“Self, Community, World: Liberal Arts and Moravian Education” to be held April 21-22

Bethlehem, Pa., April 11, 2006—Moravian College will host a major two-day conference on Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22, focusing on the educational philosophy of the Moravians and their impact on modern education. The conference titled, “Self, Community, World: Liberal Arts and Moravian Education,” will take a secular look at the long educational tradition of the Moravian community. Leading experts will present lectures that explore Moravian thoughts, practices, and their meanings that inform today’s discussions on the liberal arts.

The conference, sponsored by the College, Moravian Archives, and other Moravian organizations, is part of continuing efforts at Moravian College, the nation’s sixth oldest college, to rediscover and rethink its long and complicated educational history. In recent years, faculty members and administrators have discussed and reconstructed the history of the Moravians, and more recently focused on how certain religious practices could be applied in a secular manner within a liberal arts education. The sessions of the conference are formed around these themes.

Many of the discussions will focus on the leading thinkers of the Moravian tradition including Jan Hus, the president of the Prague University, who was executed in Konstanz in 1415 because of his defense of religious autonomy; Jan Amos Comenius, the bishop of the United Brethren and a leading intellectual of seventeenth-century Europe; Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, the founding father of the Renewed Moravian Church; Friedrich Daniel Schleiermacher, the father of modern literary criticism (hermeneutics) and one of the architects of the first modern research university, the University of Berlin, 1810. Without neglecting these master thinkers the conference pays special attention to such practices as autobiography and intentional communities that the Moravians developed in the eighteenth century.

Dr. Ervin Rokke, president of Moravian College, will deliver the welcome address on Friday, April 21 at 9:00 a.m. Morning sessions include: “Moravian Science and Science Education,” chaired by Dennis Glew, professor of history, Moravian College, with commentary by Jim Skalnik, assistant dean for academic advising, Moravian College; “Comenius's Influence on Paul Eugen Layritz: Continuity in Moravian Education” by Dietmar Waterkamp, professor, Technical University of Dresden; “Reflections on the Training and Medical Resources of Physicians in Foreign Missions: The Moravians in North America” by Renate Wilson, social and medical historian, Johns Hopkins University; and “The Barby Seminary Students’ Trip to the Harz Mountains in July, 1786” by Vernon Nelson, archivist of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province.

The keynote speaker, Jon Sensbach, professor, University of Florida, will be introduced by Dr. Curt Keim, vice president and dean of the faculty, Moravian College. The keynote speech is titled “The Moravians in the Atlantic World” and will take place at noon.

Afternoon sessions will include: “The role of Community for Moravian Education” chaired by Theresa Dougal, associate professor of English, Moravian College; “Imagining and Learning: Utopian Visions in Early Moravian Communities” by Katherine Faull, director, program in comparative humanities and professor of German, Bucknell University; and “Memoirs of the Eighteenth-Century Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine as Source of the History of Education” by Pia Schmid, professor, University of Halle.

A second round of afternoon discussions will include: “Erudition vs. Experience: Gender, Communal Narration and the Shaping of Moravian Religious Thought” presented by Gisela Mettele, German Historical Institute, Washington, DC.; “Self, Community, World: A New Look at the Brethren Choir in Bethlehem” by Dieter Gembicki of Geneva, Switzerland; and “Evangelicalism and Enlightenment: One Family at Crossroads of Education” by Jonathan Yonan, University of Oxford. Friday’s events will conclude with a reception, cultural program and dinner.

On Saturday, April 22, the program will be held in Peter Hall on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus, located in historic downtown Bethlehem. Morning discussions will include: “The History of Moravian Educational Thought,” chaired by Otto Dreydoppel, assistant professor of church history, Moravian Theological Seminary, with commentary by David Schattschneider, emeritus vice president and dean of Moravian Theological Seminary; “Unity, Community, Equality: The Prussian Court Preacher Daniel Ernst Jablonski (1660-1741) as a Missing Link between Comenius and Zinzendorf,” by Alexander Schunka, University of Stuttgart, Germany; and “Zinzendorf’s Printed and Unprinted Speeches to Children and His Understanding of Education,” by Dietrich Meyer, Herrnhut, Germany.

Following a brief break, sessions will continue with “’Headless and Un-Erudite’: Anti-Intellectual Tendencies in Zinzendorf’s Approach to Education” by Peter Vogt, Pastor of Niesky Moravian Church and director of studies for the European Continent Province of the Moravian Church; “Lessing and Zinzendorf: The Concept of Dialogue in Practice” by Julie Tomberlin Weber, Salem College; “Education in the Liberal Arts: The Moravian Young Ladies’ Seminary in Antebellum Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Jewel Smith, University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Heikki Lempa, assistant professor of history, Moravian College, will introduce the keynote speaker, Aaron Fogleman, professor, Northern Illinois University, who will present the keynote address titled, “The Moravians and Radical Religion in the Eighteenth Century.” The talk will conclude the morning’s programming.

Following the luncheon break, the afternoon discussions will commence with “Learning from Others,” chaired by Don St. John, professor of religion, Moravian College, with commentary by Jamie Paxton, assistant professor of history, Moravian College; “’How Can This Book Justly Be Called a Catechism?’ - Religious Instruction, Confessional Identity, and Moravian Itinerants in the Mid-Atlantic Colonies,” by Jared Burkholder, University of Iowa; “An Independent Xhosa Moravian Church in South Africa: Clashes of Discourses and Strategies,” by Anne Folke Henningsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark; and “The ‘Brown Hearts’ of Gnadenhuetten: The Theology and Economics of Identity at a Moravian Mission Site,” by Kate Carte Engel and Rachel Wheeler of Texas A&M University and Indiana and Purdue University at Indianapolis, respectively.

After a short break the last group of workshops will take place. These include “Meaning of Music and Meaning of Art,” chaired by Diane Radycki, assistant professor and director of Payne Gallery, Moravian College with commentary by Carol Traupman-Carr, associate dean for academic affairs, Moravian College; “’Singing from the Heart’: Music and Utopia in the Eighteenth-Century Communities of the Moravian Church,” by Sarah Eyerly, University of California, Davis; “The Clavichord's Role in Moravian Society,” by Laurence Libin, Metropolitan Museum of Art; “Music in the Life of Native American Moravians,” by Robert Valente ’07, student at Moravian College; and “Painting and the Community,” by Paul Peucker, archivist, Moravian Archives. In the evening, participants will enjoy dinner together.

The conference, in addition to acknowledging the leading thinkers of the Moravian tradition, will pay special attention to such practices as autobiography and intentional communities that the Moravians developed in the eighteenth century.

All scholars of Moravian history are invited to attend. All faculty, members of administration, students, and members of the campus community who are interested in the Moravian educational tradition and rethinking liberal arts education are welcome to attend also.

Registration information and hotel accommodations may be accessed at the website: http://home.moravian.edu/public/hist/conference/ or contact Heikki Lempa, Department of History Moravian College by calling 610 861-1315 or via Email: hlempa@moravian.edu.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the College Web site at www.moravian.edu.