Teleparallelism (also called teleparallel gravity), was an attempt by Einstein  to base a unified theory of electromagnetism and gravity on the mathematical structure of distant parallelism, also referred to as absolute or teleparallelism. In this theory, a spacetime is characterized by a curvature-free linear connection in conjunction with a metric tensor field, both defined in terms of a dynamical tetrad field.
The crucial new idea, for Einstein, was the introduction of a tetrad field, i.e., a set of four vector fields defined on all of such that for every the set is a basis of , where denotes the fiber over of the tangent vector bundle . Hence, the four-dimensional spacetime manifold must be a parallelizable manifold. The tetrad field was introduced to allow the distant comparison of the direction of tangent vectors at different points of the manifold, hence the name distant parallelism. His attempt failed because there was no Schwarzschild solution in his simplified field equation.
where and are (global) functions on ; thus is a global vector field on . In other words, the coefficients of Weitzenböck connection with respect to are all identically zero, implicitly defined by:
hence for the connection coefficients (also called Weitzenböck coefficients) —in this global basis. Here is the dual global basis (or co-frame) defined by .
Using the transformation law of a connection, or equivalently the properties, we have the following result.
Proposition. In a natural basis, associated with local coordinates , i.e., in the holonomic frame , the (local) connection coefficients of the Weitzenböck connection are given by:
where are the local expressions of a global object, that is, the given tetrad.
Given the frame field , one can also define a metric by conceiving of the frame field as an orthonormal vector field. One would then obtain a pseudo-Riemannian metric tensor field of signature (3,1) by
It is worth noting to see that these 'parallel vector fields' give rise to the metric tensor as a by-product.
New teleparallel gravity theory
New teleparallel gravity theory (or new general relativity) is a theory of gravitation on Weitzenböck space-time, and attributes gravitation to the torsion tensor formed of the parallel vector fields.
In the New teleparallel gravity theory the fundamental assumptions are as follows: (A) Underlying space-time is the Weitzenböck space-time, which has a quadruplet of parallel vector fields as the fundamental structure. These parallel vector fields give rise to the metric tensor as a by-product. All physical laws are expressed by equations that are covariant or form invariant under the group of general coordinate transformations. (B) The equivalence principle is valid only in classical physics. (C) Gravitational field equations are derivable from the action principle. (D) The field equations are partial differential equations in the field variables of not higher than the second order.
New translation teleparallel gauge theory of gravity
In 1967, quite independently, Hayashi and Nakano revived Einstein’s idea, and Pellegrini e Plebanski started to formulate the gauge theory of the space-time translation group. Hayashi pointed out the connection between the gauge theory of space-time translation group and absolute parallelism.
Nowadays, people study teleparallelism purely as a theory of gravity  without trying to unify it with electromagnetism. In this theory, the gravitational field turns out to be fully represented by the translational gauge potential , as it should be for a gauge theory for the translation group.
If this choice is made, then there is no longer any Lorentz gauge symmetry because the internal Minkowski space fiber—over each point of the spacetime manifold—belongs to a fiber bundle with the abelian R4 as structure group. However, a translational gauge symmetry may be introduced thus: Instead of seeing tetrads as fundamental, we introduce a fundamental R4 translational gauge symmetry instead (which acts upon the internal Minkowski space fibers affinely so that this fiber is once again made local) with a connection B and a "coordinate field" x taking on values in the Minkowski space fiber.
More precisely, let be the Minkowski fiber bundle over the spacetime manifold M. For each point , the fiber is an affine space. In a fiber chart , coordinates are usually denoted by , where are coordinates on spacetime manifold M, and xa are coordinates in the fiber .
is defined with respect to the connection form B, a 1-form assuming values in the Lie algebra of the translational abelian group R4. Here, d is the exterior derivative of the ath component of x, which is a scalar field (so this isn't a pure abstract index notation). Under a gauge transformation by the translation field αa,
and so, the covariant derivative of xa is gauge invariant. This is identified with the translational tetrad
(which is a one-form which takes on values in the vector Minkowski space, not the affine Minkowski space, which is why it's gauge invariant). But what does this mean? xa is somewhat like a coordinate function, giving an internal space value to each point p. The holonomy associated with B specifies the displacement of a path according to the internal space.
A crude analogy: Think of as the computer screen and the internal displacement as the position of the mouse pointer. Think of a curved mousepad as spacetime and the position of the mouse as the position. Keeping the orientation of the mouse fixed, if we move the mouse about the curved mousepad, the position of the mouse pointer (internal displacement) also changes and this change is path dependent; i.e., it doesn't only depend upon the initial and final position of the mouse. The change in the internal displacement as we move the mouse about a closed path on the mousepad is the torsion.
Another crude analogy: Think of a crystal with line defects (edge dislocations and screw dislocations but not disclinations). The parallel transport of a point of along a path is given by counting the number of (up/down, forward/backwards and left/right) crystal bonds transversed. The Burgers vector corresponds to the torsion. Disinclinations correspond to curvature, which is why they are left out.
The torsion, i.e., the translational field strength of Teleparallel Gravity (or the translational "curvature"),
is gauge invariant.
Of course, we can always choose the gauge where xa is zero everywhere (a problem though; is an affine space and also a fiber and so, we have to define the "origin" on a point by point basis, but this can always be done arbitrarily) and this leads us back to the theory where the tetrad is fundamental.
Teleparallelism refers to any theory of gravitation based upon this framework. There is a particular choice of the action which makes it exactly equivalent  to general relativity, but there are also other choices of the action which aren't equivalent to GR. In some of these theories, there is no equivalence between inertial and gravitational masses.
Unlike GR, gravity is not due to the curvature of spacetime. It is due to the torsion.
There exists a close analogy of geometry of spacetime with the structure of defects in crystal. Dislocations are represented by torsion, disclinations by curvature. These defects are not independent of each other. A dislocation is equivalent to a disclination-antidisclination pair, a disclination is equivalent to a string of dislocations. This is the basic reason why Einstein's theory based purely on curvature can be rewritten as a teleparallel theory based only on torsion. There exists, moreover, infinitely many ways of rewriting Einstein's theory, depending on how much of the curvature one wants to reexpress in terms of torsion, the teleparallel theory being merely one specific version of these.
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