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Amana Society

(from Heb. for “to be faithful”; cf. SS. 4:8). Traces its origin to the formation 1714 in Hesse, Ger., of the Community of True Inspiration, which was an attempt to improve and formulate the doctrines of Pietists who, in the last quarter of the 17th c. were called Inspirationists. Separatists, stimulated by preaching of Camisards* and under leadership of E. L. Gruber* and J. F. Rock* organized “congregations of the inspired.” The movement flourished for a generation, then declined, but was revived, beginning 1817, in Hesse, the Palatinate, and Alsace, through influence of Michael Krausert (or Kraussert; journeyman tailor of Strasbourg), Barbara Heinemann (ca. 1793–1883; after marriage Barbara Landmann; illiterate peasant girl of Leilersweiler, Alsace; leader of the movement after the death of Metz), and C. Metz.* When adherents refused to send their children to the state schools, swear allegiance, and bear arms, the govt. used repressive measures; as a result they began to emigrate to Am. 1842. They first settled near Buffalo, New York, and organized as Ebenezer Soc. 1843. In 1855 they removed to Iowa Co., Iowa, where they bought 26,000 acres, laid out 7 villages, of which the main one is Amana, and inc. 1859 as Amana Soc. The community was primarily religious, and communism, at first incidental, was made to serve this primary purpose. They held all property in common and carried on agriculture, manufacture, and trade. The entire govt. was vested in 13 trustees. In 1932 communism was abolished; civil affairs were taken over by a corporation called the Amana Soc.; ecclesiastical matters were put into hands of the Amana Ch. Soc. This change has not affected the religious tenets of the soc. Religiously the soc. was divided into 3 classes, graded according to their piety. Their main religious tenets, as contained in Glaubensbekenntnis der wahren Inspirationsgemeinde and Katechetischer Unterricht von der Lehre des Heils, included, besides fundamental doctrine of present-day inspiration, belief in Trinity, resurrection of the dead, the Judgment, justification through forgiveness of sins and holy life, perfectionism, and millenarianism. Sacraments are not regarded as means of grace. Baptism is rejected, It is held that there is a possibility of salvation after death and that the wicked are not punished eternally. Oaths are forbidden. FFM

See Religious Bodies (US), Bibliography of.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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