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Abstract

This study is an exploration of common structures, theories, and practices among the educational systems of selected Anabaptist communities, focusing on a Midwestern Schmeideleut Hutterite community and the Groffdale Conference (Old Order) Mennonites in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Building on ideas of utopian communities, this research suggests two key foci of education as practiced in Hutterite and Old Order Mennonite communities. The first is identity, both of the community—as manifested by a common purpose and identity—and of the individual—as manifested by a belief in free will. The second is practicality, both in the physical (pragmatic) and metaphysical (idealistic) realm. Anabaptist communities tend to perceive education as highly important to the continued meaningful existence of the community because education serves as a means of socializing children and youth into community norms, standards, and beliefs.

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