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On the Backroad to Heaven

Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren

Donald B. Kraybill and Carl Desportes Bowman

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On the Backroad to Heaven is a unique guide to the world of Old Order Anabaptist groups. Focusing on four Old Order communities—the Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren—Donald B. Kraybill and Carl Desportes Bowman provide a fascinating overview of their culture, growth, and distinctive way of life. Following a general introduction to Old Order culture, they show how each group uses a different strategy to create and sustain its identity. The Hutterites, for example, keep themselves geographically segregated from the larger society, whereas the Brethren interact more freely with it. The...

On the Backroad to Heaven is a unique guide to the world of Old Order Anabaptist groups. Focusing on four Old Order communities—the Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren—Donald B. Kraybill and Carl Desportes Bowman provide a fascinating overview of their culture, growth, and distinctive way of life. Following a general introduction to Old Order culture, they show how each group uses a different strategy to create and sustain its identity. The Hutterites, for example, keep themselves geographically segregated from the larger society, whereas the Brethren interact more freely with it. The Amish and Mennonites are more alike in how they engage the outside world, adopting a complex but flexible strategy of compromise that produces an evolving canon of social and religious rules. This first comparative study sketches the differences as well as the common threads that bind these groups together.

Reviews

Reviews

The authors give the general reader an excellent basic understanding of the beliefs and practices shared by all of these separatists while making the uniqueness of each group clear. One of the best single-volume works on this subject; highly recommended.

This look at the history, similarities and differences between four groups of Old Order faithful in North America—Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish and Brethren—is fascinating... A book that, in one volume, tackles history, sociology and future trends—and does it well.

A complex, sympathetic, and delightfully nuanced argument that perhaps only such a comparative perspective could produce. The groups in question are depicted not as 'cultural fossils' or 'modern day Luddites' but instead as committed Christians who have made rational choices to stem the tides of modernity that they perceive as destructive to their faith.

The best effort so far in the task of comparing Old Order ethno-religious groups in North America.

On the Backroad to Heaven is above all an intelligent and accessible introduction to contemporary Old Order communities... This would be a valuable text in many courses on contemporary Western Religion.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
352
ISBN
9780801870897
Illustration Description
53 halftones, 19 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. The Old Road to Heaven
Chapter 2. The Hutterites
Chapter 3. The Mennonites
Chapter 4. The Amish
Chapter 5. The Brethren
Chapter 6. Common Convictions
Chapter 7. Four Roads

Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. The Old Road to Heaven
Chapter 2. The Hutterites
Chapter 3. The Mennonites
Chapter 4. The Amish
Chapter 5. The Brethren
Chapter 6. Common Convictions
Chapter 7. Four Roads to Heaven
Chapter 8. Preserving a Pilgrim People
Chapter 9. Ironies of a Postmodern Journey
Notes
Selected References
Index

Author Bios
Donald B. Kraybill
Featured Contributor

Donald B. Kraybill

Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior fellow emeritus at Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.
Featured Contributor

Carl F. Bowman

Carl Desportes Bowman is associate professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology at Bridgewater College.
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