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A Harmony of the Spirits – Translation and the Language of Community in Early Pennsylvania - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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A Harmony of the Spirits: Translation and the Language of Community in Early Pennsylvania

Patrick M. Erben


In early Pennsylvania, translation served as a utopian tool creating harmony across linguistic, religious, and ethnic differences. This book challenges the long-standing historical myth—first promulgated by Benjamin Franklin—that language diversity posed a threat to communal coherence. It deftly traces the pansophist and Neoplatonist philosophies of European reformers that informed the radical English and German Protestants who founded the “holy experiment.” Their belief in hidden yet persistent links between human language and the word of God impelled their vision of a common spiritual idiom. ... More

Keywords: Pennsylvania, translation, ethnic differences, Benjamin Franklin, language diversity, Neoplatonist philosophies, German Protestants, European reformers, holy experiment, William Penn

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780807835579
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807838198_erben


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Patrick M. Erben, author