Notable Swedish Christians: Israel Acrelius

Some years ago I came by the 2-volume Dictionary of Evangelical Biography (1730-1860) which I admit is a bit obscure. But I thought I’d trawl its pages for entries on Swedish Christians to learn more about its notable figures and history. We’ll take the series alphabetically. 

Israel_Acrelius_by_John_SartainIsrael Acrelius (1714-1800) was, as most Swedish Christians were, a Lutheran. He was also a historian of Swedes in colonial America.

He was at first reluctant to go because of his lack of English, which is in marked contrast to Swedes today. He struggled to learn to preach in English (and I can sympathize having the opposite problem).

He also fought to stem the Anglicization of Swedes and against the influence of the Swedish Moravians. His main contribution was his work History of New Sweden which is (apparently) still a valuable source on religious and ethnic pluralism in the middle US colonies.

Photo by Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits

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