For generations, The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem has been a well-known retreat for journalists, diplomats, pilgrims and spies. However, few know the story of Anna Spafford, the enigmatic evangelist who was instrumental in its founding
Branded heretics by Jerusalem’s established Christian missionaries when they arrived in 1881, the Spaffords and their followers nevertheless won over Muslims and Jews with their philanthropy. But when her husband Horatio died, Anna assumed leadership, shocking even her adherents by abolishing marriage and establishing an uneasy dictatorship based on emotional blackmail and religious extremism.
With a controversial heroine at its core, American Priestess provides a fascinating exploration of the seductive power of evangelicalism as well as an intriguing history of an enduring landmark.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: American Priestess|
|Release Date: 06-17-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||American Priestess|
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The world to an end shall come
In eighteen hundred and eighty-one.
—Prophecy by an anonymous author, 1488
On a windy September day in 1881, the captain ordered the anchor dropped while the ship was still far offshore. This was routine procedure, as the port of Jaffa in Palestine was notoriously unsafe. Until that moment, however, not one of the eighteen pilgrims assembled on deck had been aware of just how difficult disembarkation might be. In their haste to leave Chicago, none had thought to pack a guidebook, and they now strained to make out details of the scene before them. The town of Jaffa seemed pretty in the morning sunlight. A mosque crowned a picturesque riot of domed houses tumbling down to the sea. There was an inviting waterfront, lined with handsome brick and stone warehouses, and orange trees abounded in the countryside around the town. But the foaming waves that crashed against a circular belt of sunken boulders between them and the shore were distinctly intimidating.(1)
Neither their own steamer nor any of the other large ships anchored nearby could get close to shore. This had been so since 1345, when the Egyptian Mamluks had destroyed Jaffa's venerable harbor, determined that no infidel crusaders would ever again invade the Eastern lands after Sultan Baybars had expelled the last Western knights in 1271. Tradition had it that Andromeda was chained to one of these jagged rocks, and it was from Jaffa—or ancient Joppa-that Jonah had fled to escape being sent to Nineveh, and then was swallowed by a whale. Hiram of Tyre sent his Lebanese cedars on floats to this port for Solomon to build his great te