Friday, July 29, 2016

Really Good Review of Separate Identity vol 1

Ich lese während meines Urlaubs gerade A Separate Identity: Organizational Identity Among Readers of Zion's Watch Tower: 1870-1887 von B.W. Schulz und Rachael de Vienne.

Das Buch beschreibt detailliert die Frühgeschichte der Bibelforscher-Bewegung, in welchem gesellschaftlichen und religiösen Umfeld die Familie Russells aufwuchs, und warum die Bibelforscher sich so entwickelten wie sie es taten. Ich finde die Zeit und Geschichte (natürlich auch aus persönlichen Gründen) faszinierend und habe schon eine ganze Reihe an Büchern zum Thema gelesen. Noch keins hatte diesen sachlichen und detaillierten Ansatz. Eine echte Empfehlung. Auf jeder Seite finde ich Informationen, die ich noch nicht kannte, ich behaupte, dass das etwas heißt. Das Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts um die Familie Russell erwacht regelrecht zum Leben. Alles wird mit Quellen belegt und auch einige bisherige Annahmen kritisch hinterfragt.

Das Buch erscheint nur im Selbstverlag bei

Dies ist der erste Band mit 357 Seiten, ein zweiter soll folgen.

Ich vermute, dass das Interesse nicht jeder nachvollziehen kann, aber für jemanden mit Interesse eine echte Leseempfehlung. Leider nur auf Englisch.

Die Autoren haben bereits ein etwas weniger detailliertes, aber auch interessantes Buch über Nelson Barbour, mit dem C.T.Russell zunächst zusammen arbeitete, veröffentlicht:

The Review is found here:


Andrew Martin said...

Below is a basic translation of the review. Brackets added for sense and grammar.

"I just read during my vacation A Separate Identity: Organizational Identity Among Readers of Zion's Watch Tower: 1870-1887 by B. W. Schulz and Rachael de Vienne.

"The book describes in detail the early history of the Bible Students movement, the social and religious environment in which the Russell family grew up, and why the Bible Students developed as they did. I find the time and history (also, of course, for personal reasons) fascinating and have read quite a number of books on this subject. Yet none had this objective and detailed approach. [I give it] a real recommendation. To find information that I did not know on every page - I say that is something. The end of the 19th century for the Russell family awakens to life. Everything is [documented] with sources and also some previous assumptions are critically questioned.

The book appears only in Self-publishing at

This is the first volume of 357 pages; a second is to follow.

I suspect that not everyone can understand this interest, but for someone with a genuine interest [it is] a recommended read. Unfortunately [available] only in English.

The authors have already published a slightly less detailed, but also interesting book about Nelson Barbour, who initially worked with C. T. Russell:


Andrew Martin said...

Here's another point of interest - in a later post, the same person who gave the review posted the following about the authors:

Beide sind keine wohl keine ZJ.

Which translates to:

Probably neither are Jehovah's Witnesses.

To me, that's a tribute to the research team: Two academics, one an adherent to the faith under discussion, the other one an objective observer.

The one is not using this forum to prove his belief system, the other is not using it to attack it. Seems like an ideal combination of researchers. I wish teams of Bible translators could show the same objectivity (I'm sure some do).

In a way, the reviewer's conclusion is testimony to the strict objectivity that both of them demonstrate - resulting in work that is obviously not written by detractors, but without any evidence of proselytizing either.

Neither polemicism nor apologism. Strictly well-documented history.

peter hemingray said...

I am a Christadelphian, so must comment on one phrase in the book "Russell, they say, got his ideas from Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, and Wilson was a Christadelphian. This is a fable. Wilson, son of an Oxford professor of Greek and an immigrant to North America, was associated first with the Campbellites. He was attracted to John Thomas’ teachings but he and Thomas quickly parted company"
This is not quite true.
As I say in my book "John Thomas, his Friends and his faith"
Benjamin Wilson was born in Halifax, England in 1817, one of four sons of a well-educated Baptist. In 1840, the family joined the emerging Campbellite movement. They must have become acquainted with the writings of Dr. Thomas soon afterwards, for there is a letter in the Herald of the Future Age, Volume 1, written in August 1843, referring to Benjamin Wilson preaching in Hali-fax, England. About this same time, from personal Bible study, the Wilsons first recognized the prominence of the promises to Abraham for the True Hope, but they did not follow this up until years later, in America. In 1844, the first wave of the Wilson family, Benjamin and his older brother, John, emigrated to Amer-ica, joining their Yorkshire acquaintances in Geneva, Illinois. This was just a few miles from St. Charles, where Dr. Thomas had resided until May 1843. They initially formed a Campbellite Church in that city, but gradually distanced themselves from that body, encouraged by correspondence with Dr. Thomas. For example, in 1846 Benjamin wrote his first letter to Dr. Thomas, as recorded in the Herald, agreeing with his views on the immortal soul. There is much correspondence from various members of the Wilson family over the next few years. In August of 1856, Benjamin Wilson and the doctor finally met, as recorded in the Herald for that year, Benjamin recognizing the doctor from his picture in “Elpis Israel.” Many years later, W.H. Wilson, nephew to Benjamin, wrote that “If I mistake not, he (Dr. Thomas) baptized my father and Uncle Benjamin.”

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Wilson and Thomas were enemies way before 1867. Thomas repudiated Wilson. And Wilson repudiated Thomas. Wilson personally denied being a Christadelphian despite early contact. Our sources speak for themselves. I appreciate the added detail, but it does not change our point.

Have you read our sources: N. Bond and J. Thomas: Important Correspondence Between a Member of the Self-Styled “Church of God,” Cleveland, Ohio, and John Thomas, M. D., Christadelphian Association, Detroit, Michigan, 1867. Wilson repudiated Christadelphian connections in an interview with J. Bohnet published in the April 4, 1916, issue of The Saint Paul, Minnesota, Enterprise. I've asked Jerome to post the 1916 article so you can read it. When done it will appear as a new post.

Please give me the title of your article or book and the page where your material appears. We're slowly updating Separate Identity, and we may use the added detail.

A good scan of the page[s] would be helpful.

Thanks for your comment.