Big Announcement!

Am so very excited and proud to announce that my book manuscript will, in fact, be going forward with the University of North Carolina Press.  More details forthcoming as they sort out, but needless to say am very excited by this development and to place the book with a press that produces such interesting, compelling and unique scholarship!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I am really excited to learn about your book and will be in line to purchase a copy when it is published. I am especially interested to learn what you uncovered about Metcalfe and the Bible Christians. In my recently published book on John "Appleseed" Chapman, I briefly explore the myth (and later in his life possibly the reality) of John Chapman's vegetarianism. One thing I am curious about is that I understand the Bible Christians split from the Swedenborgians over the issue of vegetarianism. Did you find any evidence that the Bible Christians retained much of their Swedenborgian origins after the split? Or did the writings of Swedenborg quickly fade out of the movement? John Chapman was a devoted New Church apostle, and had some connections to the Philadelphia Swedenborgians, but also devoured any religious literature he could get his hands on.

Bil Kerrigan
Muskingum University

Adam Shprintzen said...


Thanks so much for the message, I'm glad you came across my little (far too infrequently) updated corner of the web. Also, am very excited to learn about your book and look forward to reading.

Great question, and admittedly it is not one that I go into great detail about in the book (or my dissertation for that matter) since the split occurred before the BC's made it to Philadelphia. But from a practical standpoint, I didn't notice many vestiges of Swdenborgian ideals amongst the Philadelphia BCs. However, the BC church in Philadelphia had lost many of its original migrants upon making it to the States, and only grew through conversion of native Philadelphians. So while Metcalfe and other church higher ups would have still been knowledgeable of Swedenborgian practices, I don't get the sense that it would have trickled down to lay members. That said, I do think there is a lot more to investigate before I can say definitively one way or another.

Somewhat unrelated, I do believe that a handful of Swedenborg's writings found their way into Bronson Alcott's library at Fruitlands. So on some level they did still circulate amongst the proto-vegetarians. Given how that experience unraveled, I am not quite sure if that speaks well or not.

Thanks again for the comment, hope that our paths cross at some point in the future.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your prompt and helpful reply. It affirms my sense of what happened with the Bible Christians. One of the things I try to do in the Johnny Appleseed book is to situate some of his behaviors in the context of the times he lived in. Given the thin historical traces John Chapman left, it was impossible for me to establish any direct or even indirect connections between Chapman and the Bible Christians or Bronson Alcott, but I think much of his behavior can be placed in that antebellum "abstinence culture"--his (possible) rejection of animal flesh later in life, his radical commitment to frugality, etc.--it is not hard to find other reformers of his era who were espousing such things. And despite his geographic distance from centers of radical reform, his embrace of Swedenborgianism, suggests he was one way or another plugged in to the reformist movements of his time. I really look forward to reading your book. UNC Press is a great press.


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