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.
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