Rachel Stein


In the book, The Amish: A Concise Introduction, Steven M. Nolt presents an overview of Amish culture. Nolt notes that while there are many different affiliations of Amish in today’s society, the groups originated from a common background in the Anabaptist tradition. Nolt identifies several key values in Amish culture that surface in his discussions of the community, the church, rumspringa, the family, schooling, and work. The most prominent theme throughout the book is the negotiations the Amish have with the modern world. These negotiations highlight the boundaries of Amish culture are fluid and ever changing. Secondly, but related—Amish culture emphasizes community rather than individualism. The focus on community impacts every aspect of Amish life. Finally, the organization of Amish communities is pivotal to understanding the culture. Amish communities are organized around church districts. Each district is guided by a set of rules (Ordnung) specific to that district. This organization structure allows for great variation across and within settlements. Nolt uses broad strokes to paint a picture of common Amish values, while acknowledging the differences that exist across affiliations. [First paragraph]



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