Presenter Information

Kate Dobbs, Rutgers UniversityFollow

Date

5-13-2020

Description

I will present at the symposium my research paper on a forgotten missionary from the mid 1700s named, David Zeisberger and his work with the Delaware/Lenape people. Zeisbeger was a Moravian missionary who was vastly different from that of the other missionaries during the period. My work begins by explaining briefly who he was and where he and his Christian and conversion beliefs originate from. I then dive into his actions during his time as a missionary. Modern day perception of conversion is cruel and heinous, however, the way that Zeisberger performed his conversion during the period was incredibly progressive and appeared to be of selfless motivation. Zeisberger physically lived within the Lenape communities, not just within close proximity. Thus, allowing for him to develop a strong connection with the Lenape people unlike any other missionary. He became an active member of the Lenape community as well. He was simultaneously attempting to convert to from Lenape people from their cultural religion to Christianity and participating as active member in the Lenape society. He used peaceful tactics and never condoned violence in his conversion methodology. The research I found suggests that the Lenape greatly accepted him and embraced the Christian religion. Zeisberger's conversion of the Lenape people was not out of malicious intent, but rather, he truly believed that the only way to save this group of people from an eternal damnation, was by educating them on Christianity.

Share

COinS
 
May 13th, 12:00 AM

A Missionary on a Mission: David Zeisberger and His Work with the Lenape People

I will present at the symposium my research paper on a forgotten missionary from the mid 1700s named, David Zeisberger and his work with the Delaware/Lenape people. Zeisbeger was a Moravian missionary who was vastly different from that of the other missionaries during the period. My work begins by explaining briefly who he was and where he and his Christian and conversion beliefs originate from. I then dive into his actions during his time as a missionary. Modern day perception of conversion is cruel and heinous, however, the way that Zeisberger performed his conversion during the period was incredibly progressive and appeared to be of selfless motivation. Zeisberger physically lived within the Lenape communities, not just within close proximity. Thus, allowing for him to develop a strong connection with the Lenape people unlike any other missionary. He became an active member of the Lenape community as well. He was simultaneously attempting to convert to from Lenape people from their cultural religion to Christianity and participating as active member in the Lenape society. He used peaceful tactics and never condoned violence in his conversion methodology. The research I found suggests that the Lenape greatly accepted him and embraced the Christian religion. Zeisberger's conversion of the Lenape people was not out of malicious intent, but rather, he truly believed that the only way to save this group of people from an eternal damnation, was by educating them on Christianity.