Cory Anderson


Mennonite; Amish; Brethren; Hutterite; Apostolic Christian; Bruderhof; religious traditions; ethnicity; social system


I define the plain Anabaptists by answering two essential questions: “Who are the plain Anabaptists” and “What are the plain Anabaptists?” In asking “Who are the plain Anabaptists?” I investigate several dimensions of identity. First, I trace the history of seven religious traditions within Anabaptism: the Swiss Brethren/Mennonites, the Low German/Russian Mennonites, the Hutterites, the Amish, the Brethren, the Apostolic Christian Churches, and the Bruderhof. Second, I explore three categories of people in each group—mainline, conservative, and Old Order—describing the last two as “plain.” Third, I explore scales and indices on which plainness is measured, as well as other measures of who the plain Anabaptist people are. In asking “What are the plain Anabaptists?” I define several ways social scientists conceptualize and describe the plain Anabaptists. I organize the sundry definitions and frames under three categories: the plain Anabaptists as a religious group, as an ethnicity, and as a social system.



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