In Moravian Soundscapes, Sarah Eyerly explores the connections between the "sounded theology" of the Moravian church and the "sacred landscapes" that surrounded the Moravian missionary settlement of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1700s. Bethlehem in the decades following its founding was a much quieter place than its modern-day, post-industrial manifestation.
Eyerly argues that perception of sound in this environment was critical to the residents of Bethlehem as church and school bells, trombone choirs, the bells of communal homes, and the singing of hymns regulated the life of the community. One’s ability to listen, interpret, and understand these sounds was essential to a shared sense of time and social responsibility. Through explorations of these sounded relationships—natural, human, and spirit—Eyerly explores how sounds, both musical and nonmusical, human and non-human, shaped religious culture for the German, English, Delaware, and Mohican residents of Bethlehem. Combined with access to an interactive website that immerses the reader in the sounds of mid-eighteenth-century Bethlehem, this book recovers the role of sound and music in this specific historical context and provides a road map for similar studies of other places in the future.