Ephrata Cloister hymns
Of all the German sectarian groups in colonial Pennsylvania, perhaps one of the most widely known was the Ephrata Cloister. It was founded in 1732 by George Conrad Beissel (b. Eberbach, Germany, 1691, died Ephrata, 1768). The full blossoming of the Cloister occurred in the 1740s and 1750s when its population consisted of about 80 celibates and some 200 householders. It was waning as Beissel died in 1768 and ceased to exist in 1814.
Beissel's skills and talents were manifold, but he is best known today for his hymn writing and music composition. There are some 755 hymns and anthems written by Beissel in the Ephrata hymnbooks. In total, some 1,279 hymn texts were written by at least 88...
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