Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Six months in Bible Lands

On August 2, 2009 I bought a "bag of books" for one dollar at the Women's Club book sale in Lakeside, Ohio. There wasn't much left when I got there and I just picked some up randomly. When I got home and went through the bag I found some real treasures, including a first edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay's letters. However, I also found a delightful book with a very long title,
    Six Months in Bible Lands and Around the World in Fourteen Months; observations and notes of travel in England, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, Constantinople, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, India, Ceylon, China and Japan. With fifty illustrations. Moral, practical and religious subjects are treated in harmony with the Bible. Wenger, A. D. Joseph B. Steiner, Mennonite Publisher, Doylestown, PA. 1902.

    Book Description from an internet used book site: Hard Cover. Book Condition: Good. Dark green cover, some light spots. cover slightly frayed at spine ends and corners. clean and tight. 550 pp. $14.00 (what the dealer wanted, plus shipping)
Wengers are in my family tree, so I first looked up Amos Daniel Wenger, and learned through a genealogy that he is a descendant of Christian Wenger, not Hans and Hannah Wenger, my first family Wenger in America. But they all arrived in the U.S. around the same time, the 1730s. Also in looking through internet genealogies, I learned that his wife of one year had died in 1898 and in January 1899 he began this around-the-world trip, returning in 1900, to recover from his grief. This is not mentioned in the passages I've read. He later married his second wife with whom he had 8 children all of whom either became ministers, missionaries or spouses of same. He edited his notes with research about the areas, and published the book in 1902.

He says in the introduction that no orthodox Mennonite had ever written a travel book of this type and it would fill a place in the church literature. Often I have a problem with the flowery purple prose of 100 years ago, but he is a delightful, easy read, and sounds like he went on our trips of the last few years. Before he even gets out of the U.S. he lets us know on page 3 that foolish claims of materialism and the worldly culture are claiming even Mennonites. Wenger has little use for magnificient buildings and would prefer to see the money go to feed the poor. More about that when he gets to Europe!

I blogged about this book here and here.

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