The location of LTSP today is largely due to the purchase by Francis Daniel Pastorius of 15,000 acres of land – then outside of Philadelphia – which established Germantown in the late 1600s. The tract ran from Vernon Park, where a statue of Pastorius stands today, to what is now Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill. Disenchanted by European Pietists, Pastorius, a lawyer by training, had embarked for North America, settling in Philadelphia. Pastorius loved gardening and was also a physician. A Lutheran by birth, he was the region’s most prominent public theologian in the period before Benjamin Franklin. In 1688, he penned the first anti-slavery protest document in the colonies, based on an understanding of the Golden Rule. “Would anyone want to be treated the way slaves are treated?” he wrote. Pastorius spoke and wrote in seven languages. He wrote the region’s first medical manual, noting therein that the best physical remedy consists of “a warm coat, a warm fire and a malt beverage…” Watch and listen as Dr. Jon Pahl, professor of the History of Christianity in North America at LTSP, discusses Pastorius’s legacy.
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