Recently, a new examination of some illustrations found in the papers of Jacob Martin, a member of the eighteenth-century Ephrata Community, have turned up some interesting results that may shed more light on the beliefs and world views of the Ephrata Community and one of its more interesting members. The Mystical Figure from the Jacob Martin papers is clearly a reproduction of the “Awakening Man,” the second in a series of four plates that come from a treatise published by Johann Georg Gichtel in 1696: Einekruz Eroffnung und Anweisung der drei Prinzipien und Weltenimim Menschen – “A Brief Opening and Demonstration of the Three Principals and Worlds in Man.” Because Jacob Martin reproduced two of the figures from this Gichtel treatise, it must have held some special significance for him. It is my purpose to describe what meaning Johann Gichtel attributed to these figures in his treatise, then to explain the meaning they had for Jacob Martin, and more largely, Conrad Beissel and the Ephrata Community. The majority of information for this analysis comes from the book, Wisdom’s Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition (1999), by Arthur Versluis.
American Communal Societies Quarterly