ABSTRACT

Beginning in the 1740s, an increasing amount of anti-Moravian polemics was published through the eighteenth century. Scholars from various denominations marked many of Zinzendorf’s theological ideas as controversial or even heretical. The question arises: how did disputes in Europe influence Moravian missions overseas? With a micro-historical perspective this article focuses on how local missionaries’ decisions in the Danish West Indies were impacted by struggles between Moravians and members of the Reformed and the Danish Lutheran churches. Suggestions and guidelines from leading figures like August Gottlieb Spangenberg, David Nitschmann, and Johannes von Watteville played an important role in the way the missionaries tried to cope with these disputes and reflected on their own Moravian identity. By tracing the missionaries’ self-representation as well as adaptations to their religious practices, this article develops a better understanding of the Moravians’ entanglement in a dynamic colonial setting.

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