In Ohio, the members of the Zoar community regarded their village as a sanctuary, a safe haven separated from an otherwise evil, sinful world. The community’s chosen name implies they felt they had escaped from Wuerttemberg. Most of the Separatist groups they belonged to had been established in the years after 1801. Thus, we know two dates for certain, but if you research the story of the founders of Zoar there remain many mysteries.
George Rapp and his followers laid the foundation of the Separatist movement in the late eighteenth century, and the founders of Zoar followed the example of the Harmonists in many ways. Therefore it is very important to outline and understand Rapp’s activities and principles. We must see the Harmonists’ and the Zoarites’ history as one story, an ongoing movement of Radical Pietism or Separatism. Of course, as the times changed, that movement also underwent changes; however, the basic ideas are the same. After Rapp had left for America, leadership shifted to the Separatists of Rottenacker and their followers in villages like Dettingen unter Teck, Boll, Unterhausen, Schlaitdorf, Nordheim, and Horrheim, to name only the most prominent ones.
American Communal Societies Quarterly
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